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THE EYE OF DREAD 



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PAYNE ERSKINE 



THE EYE OF DREAD 

JOYFUL HEATHERBY 

THE MOUNTAIN GIRL 

WHEN THE GATES LIFT UP 
THEIR HEADS 



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THE EYE OF 
DREAD 



BY 



PAYNE ERSKINE 

Author of "The Mdvr/jTAW Girl," "Joyful 
Heather^" Bra* •• 



WITH FRONTISPIECE BY 

GEORGE GIBBS 



C • 

V BOSTON 

LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 

1913 
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ra* kev VOUK 
sum: LIBRARY 

8103811 

.'..'^ -i;. i »;m)X ami 

TlM'L.i tiji MOTION'S 



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Copyright, 1913, 
By Little, Brown, and Company. 



AU rights reserved 



Published, October, 1913 



Nortooott ^rtff 

Set op and electrotyped by J. S. Gushing Co., Norwood, Mats., U.SJL 

Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.. Boston. 




CONTENTS 



r 



BOOK ONE 

CHAFTBK PACK 

I. Betty i 

II. Watching the Bees 9 

III. A Mother's Struggle 23 

IV. Leave-taking 34 

V. The Passing of Time 49 

VI. The End of the War 59 

VII. A New Era Begins 69 

VIII. Mary Ballard's Discovery 87 

IX. The Banker's Point of View 97 

X. The Nutt/ng Party no 

XI. Betty Ballard's Awakening 125 

XII. Mysterious Findings 139 

XIII. Confession 157 

BOOK TWO 

XIV. Out of the Desert 168 

XV. The Big Man's Return 183 

XVI. A Peculiar Position 198 

XVII. Adopting a Family 208 

XVIII. Larry Kildene's Story 219 

XIX. The Mine — and the Departure .... 237 

XX. Alone on the Mountain 252 

XXI. The Violin 267 

v 



VI 



CHAPTER 

XXII. 
XXIII. 
XXIV. 

XXV. 



CONTENTS 

PACK 

The Beast on the Trail ..... 282 

A Discourse on Lying 295 

Amalia's Fete 305 

Harry King Leaves the Mountain . . .318 



XXVI. 

XXVII. 

XXVIII. 

XXIX. 

XXX. 

XXXI. 

XXXII. 

XXXIII. 

XXXIV. 

XXXV. 

XXXVI. 

XXXVII. 

XXXVIII. 

XXXIX. 

XL. 



BOOK THREE 

The Little School-teacher . . . . 331 

The Swede's Telegram 342 

"A Resemblance Somewhere" .... 354 

The Arrest 365 

The Argument 376 

Robert Kater's Success 387 

The Prisoner 408 

Hester Craig mile Receives her Letter . 422 

Jean Craigmile's Return 433 

The Trial 445 

Nels Nelson's Testimony 453 

The Stranger's Arrival 463 

Betty Ballard's Testimony .... 475 

Reconciliation 487 

The Same Boy 499 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



BOOK ONE 
CHAPTER I 

BETTY 

Two whip-poor-wills were uttering their insistent note, 
hidden somewhere among the thick foliage of the maple 
and basswood trees that towered above the spring down 
behind the house where the Ballards lived. The sky in 
the west still glowed with amber light, and the crescent 
moon floated like a golden boat above the horizon's edge. 
The day had been unusually warm, and the family were 
all gathered on the front porch in the dusk. The lamps 
within were unlighted, and the evening wind blew the white 
muslin curtains out and in through the opened windows. 
The porch was low, — only a step from the ground, — and 
the grass of the dooryard felt soft and cool to the bare feet 
of the children. 

In front and all around lay the garden — flowers and 
fruit quaintly intermingled. Down the long path to the 
gate, where three roads met, great bunches of peonies lifted 
white blossoms — luminouslx white in- the moonlight ; 
and on either side rows of currant bushes cast low, dark 
shadows, and here and there dwarf crab-apple trees tossed 
pale, scented flowers above them. In the dusky evening 



2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

light the iris flowers showed frail and iridescent against 
the dark shadows under the bushes. 

The children chattered quietly at their play, as if they 
felt a mystery around them, and small Betty was sure she 
saw fairies dancing on the iris flowers when the light breeze 
stirred them ; but of this she said nothing, lest her practical 
older sister should drop a scornful word of unbelief, a thing 
Betty shrank from and instinctively avoided. Why should 
she be told there were no such things as fairies and goblins 
and pigwidgeons, when one might be at that very moment 
dancing at her elbow and hear it all ? 

So Betty wagged her curly golden head, wise with the 
wisdom of childhood, and went her own ways and thought 
her own thoughts. As for the strange creatures of won- 
drous power that peopled the earth, and the sky, and the 
streams, she knew they were there. She could almost see 
them, could almost feel them and hear them, even though 
they were hidden from mortal sight. 

Did she not often go when the sun was setting and climb 
the fence behind the barn under the great locust and silver- 
leaf poplar trees, where none could see her, and watch the 
fiery griffins in the west? Could she not see them flame 
and flash, their wings spreading far out across the sky in 
fantastic flight, or drawn close and folded about them in 
hues of purple and crimson and gold ? Could she not see 
the flying mist-women flinging their floating robes of 
softest pink and palest green around their slender limbs, 
and trailing them delicately across the deepening sky ? 

Had she not heard the giants — nay, seen them — 
driving their terrible steeds over the tumbled clouds, and 
rolling them smooth with noise of thunder, under huge 



• • • 






» • 






BETTY 3 

rolling machines a thousand times bigger than that Farmer 
Hopkins used to crush the clods in his wheat field in the 
spring ? Had she not seen the flashes of fire dart through 
the heavens, struck by the hoofs of the giants 1 huge beasts ? 
Ah ! She knew ! If Martha would only listen to her, 
she could show her some of these true things and stop her 
scoffing. 

Lured by these mysteries, Betty made short excursions 
into the garden away from the others, peering among the 
shadows, and gazing wide-eyed into the clusters of iris 
flowers above which night moths fluttered softly and 
silently. Maybe there were fairies there. Three could 
ride at once on the back of a devil's riding horse, she knew, 
and in the daytime they rode the dragon flies, two at a time ; 
they were so light it was nothing for the great green and 
gold, big-eyed dragon flies to carry two. 

Betty knew a place below the spring where the maiden- 
hair fern grew thick and spread out wide, perfect fronds on 
slender brown stems, shading fairy bowers; and where 
taller ferns grew high and leaned over like a delicate fairy 
forest ; and where the wild violets grew so thick you could 
not see the ground beneath them, and the grass was lush 
and long like fine green hair, and crept up the hillside and 
over the roots of the maple and basswood trees. Here 
lived the elves; she knew them well, and often lay with 
her head among the violets, listening for the thin sound of 
their elfin fiddles. Often she had drowsed the summer 
noon in the coolness, unheeding the dinner call, until busy 
Martha roused her with the sisterly scolding she knew she 
deserved and took in good part. 

Now as Betty crept cautiously about, peering and hoping 




4 THE EYE OF DREAD 

with a half-fearing expectation, a sweet, threadlike wail 
trembled out toward her across the moonlit and shadowed 
space. Her father was tuning his violin. Her mother 
sat at his side, hushing Bobby in her arms. Betty could 
hear the sound of her rockers on the porch floor. Now the 
plaintive call of the violin came stronger, and she hastened 
back to curl up at her father's feet and listen. She closed 
her vision-seeing eyes and leaned against her father's knee. 
He felt the gentle pressure of his little daughter's head and 
liked it. 

All the long summer day Betty's small feet had carried 
her on numberless errands for young and old, and as the 
season advanced she would be busier still. This Betty 
well knew, for she was old enough to remember other 
summers, several of them, each bringing an advancing 
crescendo of work. But oh, the happy days ! For Betty 
lived in a world all her own, wherein her play was as real 
as her work, and labor was turned by her imaginative little 
mind into new forms of play, and although night often 
found her weary — too tired to lie quietly in her bed some- 
times — the line between the two was never in her thoughts 
distinctly drawn. 

To-night Betty's conscience was troubling her a little, 
for she had done two naughty things, and the pathetic 
quality of her father's music made her wish with all the 
intensity of her sensitive soul that she might confess to 
some one what she had done, but it was all too peaceful 
and sweet now to tell her mother of naughty things, and, 
anyway, she could not confess before the whole family, 
so she tried to repent very hard and tell God all about it. 
Somehow it was always easier to tell God about things ; 



BETTY S 

for, she reasoned, if God was everywhere and knew every- 
thing, then he knew she had been bad, and had seen her 
all the time, and all she need do was to own up to it, with- 
out explaining everything in words, as she would have to 
do to her mother. 

Brother Bobby's bare feet swung close to her cheek as 
they dangled from her mother's knee, and she turned and 
kissed them, first one and then the other, with eager kisses. 
He stirred and kicked out at her fretfully. 

"Don't wake him, dear," said her mother. 

Then Betty drew up her knees and clasped them about 
with her arms, and hid her face on them while she repented 
very hard. Mother had said that very day that she never 
felt troubled about the baby when Betty had care of him, 
and that very day she had recklessly taken him up into the 
barn loft, climbing behind him and guiding his little feet 
from one rung of the perpendicular ladder to another, 
teaching him to cling with clenched hands to the rounds 
until she had landed him in the loft. There she had per- 
suaded him he was a swallow in his nest, while she had taken 
her fill of the delight of leaping from the loft down into the 
bay, where she had first tossed enough hay to make a soft 
lighting place for the twelve-foot leap. 

Oh, the joy of it — flying through the air ! If she could 
only fly up instead of down ! Every time she climbed 
back into the loft she would stop and cuddle the little 
brother and toss hay over him and tell him he was a baby 
bird, and she was the mother bird, and must fly away and 
bring him nice worms. She bade him look up to the rafters 
above and see the mother birds flying out and in, while 
the little birds just sat still in their nests and opened their 



6 THE EYE OF DREAD 

mouths. So Bobby sat still, and when she returned, obe- 
diently opened his mouth ; but alas ! he wearied of his rdle 
in the play, and at last crept to the very edge of the loft 
at a place where there was no hay spread beneath to break 
his fall; and when Betty looked up and saw his sweet 
baby face peering down at her over the edge, her heart 
stopped beating. How wildly she called for him to wait 
for her to come to him ! She promised him all the dearest 
of her treasures if he would wait until "sister" got there. 

Now, as she sat clasping her knees, her little body grew 
all trembling and weak again as she lived over the terrible 
moment when she had reached him just in time to drag 
him back from the edge, and to cuddle and 'taress him, 
until he lifted up his voice and wept, not because he was in 
the least troubled or hurt, but because it seemed to be the 
right thing to do. 

Then she gave him the pretty round comb that held back 
her hair, and he promptly straightened it and broke it; 
and when she reluctantly brought him back to dinner — 
how she had succeeded in getting him down from the loft 
would make a chapter of diplomacy — her mother reproved 
her for allowing him to take it, and lapped the two pieces 
and wound them about with thread, and told her she 
must wear the broken comb after this. She was glad 
— glad it was broken — and she had treasured it so — 
and glad that her mother had scolded her ; she wished she 
had scolded harder instead of speaking words of praise 
that cut her to the heart. Oh, oh, oh ! If he had fallen 
over, he would be dead now, and she would have killed 
him ! Thus she tortured herself, and repented very hard. 

The other sin she had that day committed she felt to be 



BETTY 7 

a double sin, because she knew all the time it was wrong 
and did it deliberately. When she went out with the corn 
meal to feed the little chicks and fetch in the new-laid eggs, 
she carried, concealed under her skirt, a small, squat book 
of Robert Burns' poems. These poems she loved; not 
that she understood them, but that the rhythm pleased 
her, and the odd words and half-comprehended phrases 
stirred her imagination. 

So, after feeding the chicks and gathering the eggs, she 
did not return to the house, but climbed instead up into the 
top of the silver-leaf poplar behind the barn, and sat there 
long, swaying with the swaying tree top and reading the 
lines that most fascinated her and stirred her soul, until 
she forgot she must help Martha with the breakfast dishes 
— forgot she must carry milk to the neighbor's — forgot 
she must mind the baby and peel the potatoes for dinner. 
It was so delightful to sway and swing and chant the 
rythmic lines over and over that almost she forgot she was 
being bad, and Martha had done the things she ought to 
have done, and the baby cried himself to sleep without her, 
and lay with the pathetic tear marks still on his cheeks, 
but her tired mother had only looked reproachfully at her 
and had not said one word. Oh, dear ! If she could only 
be a good girl ! If only she might pass one day being good 
all day long with nothing to regret ! 

Now with the wailing of the violin her soul grew hungry 
and sad, and a strange, unchildish fear crept over her, a 
fear of the years to come — so long and endless they would 
be, always coming, coming, one after another; and here 
she was, never to stop living, and every day doing some- 
thing that she ought not and every evening repenting it — 



8 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



and her father might stop loving her, and her sister might 
stop loving her, and her little brother might stop loving 
her, and Bobby might die — and even her mother might 
die or stop loving her, and she might grow up and marry 
a man who forgot after a while to love her — and she 
might be very poor — even poorer than they were now, and 
have to wash dishes every day and no one to help her — 
until at last she could bear the sadness no longer, and could 
not repent as hard as she ought, there where she could not 
go down on her knees and just cry and cry. So she slipped 
away and crept in the darkness to her own room, where her 
mother found her half an hour later on her knees beside 
the bed fast asleep. She lovingly undressed the limp, 
weary little girl, lifted her tenderly and laid her curly head 
on the pillow, and kissed her cheek with a repentant sigh 
of her own, regretting that she must lay so many tasks on 
so small a child. 



CHAPTER H 

WATCHING THE BEES 

Father Ballard walked slowly up the path from the 
garden, wiping his brow, for the heat was oppressive. 
"Mary, my dear, I see signs of swarming. The bees are 
hanging out on that hive under the Tolman Sweet. Where's 
Betty?" 

" She's down cellar churning, but she can leave. Bobby's 
getting fretful, anyway, and she can take him under the 
trees and watch the bees and amuse him. Betty!" Mary 
Ballard went to the short flight of steps leading to the 
paved basement, dark and cool: "Betty, father wants 
you to watch the bees, dear. Find Bobby. He's so still 
I'm afraid he's out at the currant bushes again, and he'll 
make himself sick. Keep an eye on the hive under the 
Tolman Sweet particularly, dear." 

Gladly Betty bounded up the steps and darted away to 
find the baby who was still called the baby by reason of his 
being the last arrival, although he was nearly three, and an 
active little tyrant at that. Watching the bees was Betty's 
delight. Minding the baby, lolling under the trees reading 
her books, gazing up into the great branches, and all the 
time keeping an eye on the hives scattered about in the 
garden, — nothing could be pleasanter. 

Naturally Betty could not understand all she read in the 
books she carried out from the library, for purely children's 

9 



io THE EYE OF DREAD 

books were very few in those days. The children of the 
present day would be dismayed were they asked to read 
what Betty pondered over with avidity and loved. Hei 
father's library was his one extravagance, even though the 
purchase of books was always a serious matter, each volume 
being discussed and debated about, and only obtained aftei 
due preparation by sundry small economies. 

As for worldly possessions, the Ballards had started out 
with nothing at all but their own two hands, and, as assets 
well-equipped brains, their love for each other, a fair amount 
of thrift, and a large share of what Mary Ballard's old 
Grannie Sherman used to designate as "gumption.' 3 
Exactly what she intended should be understood by the 
word it would be hard to say, unless it might be the faculty 
with which, when one thing proved to be no longer feasible 
as a shift toward progress and the making of a living for 
an increasing family, they were enabled to discover other 
means and work them out to a productive conclusion. 

Thus, when times grew hard under the stress of the Civil 
War, and the works of art representing many hours of 
Bertrand Ballard's keenest effort lay in his studio unpur- 
chased, and even carefully created portraits, ordered and 
painstakingly painted, were left on his hands, unclaimed and 
unpaid for, he quietly turned his attention to his garden, 
saying, "People can live without pictures, but they must 
eat." 

So he obtained a few of the choicest of the quickly pro- 
duced small fruits and vegetables and flowers, and soon 
had rare and beautiful things to sell. His clever hands, 
which before had made his own stretchers for his canvases, 
and had fashioned and gilded with gold leaf the frames for 



/ 



WATCHING THE BEES u 

his own paintings, now made trellises for his vines and 
boxes for his fruits, and when the price of sugar climbed 
to the very top of the gamut, he created beehives on new 
models, and bought a book on bee culture ; ere long he had 
combs of delicious honey to tempt the lovers of sweets. 

But how came Bertrand Ballard away out in Wisconsin 
in a country home, painting pictures for people who knew 
little or nothing of art, and cared not to know more, rais- 
ing fruits and keeping bees for the means to live? Ah, 
that is another story, and to tell it would make another 
book ; suffice it to say that for love of a beautiful woman, 
strong and wise and sweet, he had followed her farmer 
father out into the newer west from old New York State. 

There, frail in health and delicate and choice in his tastes, 
but brave in spirit, he took up the battle of the weak with 
life, and fought it like a strong man, valiantly and well. 
And where got he his strength? How are the weak ever 
made strong ? Through strength of love — the inward 
fire that makes great the soul, while consuming the dross 
of false values and foolish estimates — from the merry 
heart that could laugh through any failure, and most of all 
from the beautiful hand, supple and workful, and gentle and 
forceful, that lay in his. 

But this is not the story of Bertrand Ballard, except 
incidentally as he and his family play their part in the drama 
that centers in the lives of two lads, one of whom — Peter 
Craigmile, Junior — comes now swinging up the path from 
the front gate, where three roads meet, brave in his new 
uniform of blue, with lifted head, and eyes grave and shining 
with a kind of solemn elation. 

"Bertrand, here comes Peter Junior in a new uniform," 



12 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Mary Ballard called to her husband, who was working at 
a box in which he meant to fit glass sides for an aquarium 
for the edification of the little ones. He came quickly out 
from his workroom, and Mary rose from her seat and 
pushed her mending basket one side, and together they 
walked down the path to meet the youth. 

" Peter Junior, have you done it ? Oh, I'm sorry ! " 

"Why, Mary! why, Mary! I'm astonished! Not 
sorry ? " Bertrand took the boy's hand in both his own and 
looked up in his eyes, for the lad was tall, much taller than 
his friend. "I would go myself if I only had the strength 
and were not near-sighted." 

"Thank the Lord I" said his wife, fervently. 

"Why, Mary — Mary — I'm astonished ! " he said 
again. " Our country — " 

"Yes, 'Our Country' is being bled to death," she said, 
taking the boy's hand in hers for a moment ; and, turning, 
they walked back to the house with the young volunteer 
between them. "No, I'm not reconciled to having our 
young men go down there and die by the thousands from 
disease and bullets and in prisons. It's wrong ! I say war 
is iniquitous, and the issues, North or South, are not worth 
it. Peter, I had hoped you were too young. Why did 
you?" 

"I couldn't help it, Mrs. Ballard. The call for fifty 
thousand more came, and father gave his consent ; and, 
anyway, they are taking a younger set now than at first." 

"Yes, and soon they'll take an older set, and then they'll 
take the small and frail and near-sighted ones, and then 
— " She stopped suddenly, with a contrite glance at 
her husband's face. He hated to be small and frail and 



WATCHING THE BEES 13 

near-sighted. She stepped round to his side and put her 
hand in his. "I'm thankful you are, Bertrand," she said 
quietly. "You'll stay to tea with us, won't you, Peter? 
We'll have it out of doors." 

"Yes, I'll stay — thank you. It may be the last time, 
and mother — I came to see if you'd go up home and see 
mother, Mrs. Ballard. I kind of thought you'd think as 
father and Mr. Ballard do about it, and I thought you 
might be able to help mother to see it that way, too. You 
see, mother — she — I always thought you were kind of 
strong and would see things sort of — well — big, you 
know, more — as we men do." He held his head high and 
looked off as he spoke. 

She exchanged a half-smiling glance with her husband, 
and their hands clasped tighter. "Maybe, though — if 
you feel this way — you can't help mother — but what 
shall I do ?" The big boy looked wistfully down at her. 

"I may not be able to help her to see things you want, 
Peter Junior. Maybe she would be happier in seeing things 
her own way; but I can sympathize with her. Perhaps 
I can help her to hope for the best, and anyway — we can 
— just talk it over." 

"Thank you, Mrs. Ballard, thank you. I don't care 
how she sees it, if — if — she'll only be happier — and — 
give her consent. I can't bear to go away without that; 
but if she won't give it, I must go anyway, — you know." 

"Yes," she said, smiling, "I suppose we women have 
to be forced sometimes, or we never would allow some things 
to be done. You enlisted first and then went to her for 
her consent? Yes, you are a man, Peter Junior. But I 
tell you, if you were my son, I would never give my con- 



14 THE EYE OF DREAD 

sent — nor have it forced from me — still — I would love 
you better for doing this." 

"My love, your inconsistency is my joy," said her hus- 
band, as she passed into the house and left them together. 

The sun still shone hotly down, but the shadows were 
growing longer, and Betty left baby asleep under the 
Harvest apple tree where she had been staying patiently 
during the long, warm hours, and sat at her father's feet 
on the edge of the porch, where apparently she was wholly 
occupied in tracing patterns with her bare toes in the sand 
of the path. Now and then she ran out to the Harvest 
apple tree and back, her golden head darting among the 
green shrubbery like a sunbeam. She wished to do her 
full duty by the bees and the baby, and at the same time 
hear all the talk of the older ones, and watch the fascinating 
young soldier in his new uniform. 

As bright as the sunbeam, and as silent, she watched and 
listened. Her heart beat fast with excitement, as it often 
did these days, when she heard them talk of the war and 
the men who went away, perhaps never to return, or to 
return with great glory. Now here was Peter Junior going. 
He already had his beautiful new uniform, and he would 
march and drill and carry a gun, and halt and present arms, 
along with the older men she had seen in the great camp 
out on the high bluffs which overlooked the wide, sweeping, 
rushing, willful Wisconsin River. 

i Oh, if she were only a man and as old $s Peter Junior, 
she would go with him; but it was very grand to know 
him even. Why was she a girl ? If God had only asked 
her which she would rather be when he had made her out 
of dust, she would have told him to make her a man, so 



WATCHING THE BEES 15 

she might be a soldier. It was not fair. There was Bobby ; 
he would be a man some day, and he could ride on a large 
black horse like the knights of old, and go to wars, and 
rescue people, and do deeds of arms. What deeds of arms 
were, she little knew, but it was something very strong and 
wonderful that only knights and soldiers did. 

Betty heaved a deep sigh, and put out her hand and softly 
touched Peter Junior's trousers. He thought it was the 
kitten purring about. No, God had not treated her fairly. 
Now she must grow up and be only a woman, and wash 
dishes, and sweep and dust, and get very tired, and wear 
dresses — and oh, dear ! But then perhaps God had to do 
that way, for if he had given everybody a choice, everybody 
would choose to be men, and there would be no women to 
mind the home and take care of the little children, and it 
would be a very sad kind of world, as she had often heard 
her father say. Perhaps God had to do with them as 
Peter Junior had done with his mother when he enlisted 
first and asked her consent afterwards; just make them 
girls, and then try to convince them afterwards that it was a 
fine thing to be a girl. She wished she were Bobby instead 
of Betty — but then — Bobby might not have liked that. 

She glanced wistfully at the sleeping child and saw him 
toss his arms about, and knew she ought to be there to 
sway a green branch over him to keep the little gnats and 
flies from bothering him and waking him; and the bees 
might swarm and no one see them. 

"Father, is it three o'clock yet?" 

"Yes, deary, why?" 

" Goody ! The bees won't swarm now, will they ? Will 
you bring Bobby in, father ?" 






16 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"He is very well there ; we won't disturb him." 

Peter Junior looked down on the little girl, so full of 
vitality and life and inspiration, so vibrant with enthu- 
siasm, and saw her vaguely as a slightly disturbing element, 
but otherwise of little moment in the world's economy. 
His thoughts were on greater things. 

Betty accepted her father's decision without protest, as 
she accepted most things, — a finality to be endured and 
made the best of, — so she continued to run back and forth 
between the sleeping child and the porch, thereby losing 
much interesting dialogue, — all about camps and fighting 
and scout duty, — until at last her mother returned and 
with a glance at her small daughter's face said : — 

"Father, will you bring baby in now and put him in his 
cradle ? Betty has had him nearly all day." And father 
went. Oh, beautiful mother ! How did she know ! 

Then Betty settled herself at Peter Junior's feet and 
looked up in his eyes gravely. "What will you be, now 
you are a soldier ? " she asked. 

"Why, a soldier." 

"No, I mean, will you be a general — or a flag carrier — 
or will you drum ? I'd be a general if I were you — or 
else a drummer. I think you would be very handsome for 
a general." 

Peter Junior threw back his head and laughed. It 
was the first time he had laughed that day, and yet he 
was both proud and happy. "Would you like to be a 
soldier?" 

"Yes." 

"But you might be killed, or have your leg shot off — 
or—" 



WATCHING THE BEES 17 

" I know. So might you — but you would go, anyway — 
wouldn't you?" 

"Certainly." 

"Well, then you understand how I feel. I'd like to be a 
man, and go to war, and 'Have a part to tear a cat in/ too." 

"What's that? What's that? Mary, do you hear 
that?" said her father, resuming his seat at Peter's side, 
and hearing her remark. 

"Why, father, wouldn't you? You know you'd like 
to go to war. I heard what you said to mother, and, any- 
way — I'd just like to be a man and ' Have a part to tear 
a cat in,' the way men have." 

Bertrand Ballard looked down and patted his little 
daughter's head, then caught her up and placed her on his 
knee. He realized suddenly that his child was an entity 
unfathomed, separate from himself, working out her own 
individuality almost without guidance, except such as he 
and his Mary were unconsciously giving to her by their 
daily acts and words. 

"What books are those you have there? Don't you 
know you mustn't take father's Shakespeare out and leave 
it on the grass?" 

Betty laughed. "How did you know I had Shake- 
speare?" 

"Didn't you say you ' Would like a part to tear a cat 
in'?" 

"Oh, have you read ' Midsummer Night's Dream'?" 
She lifted her head from his bosom and eyed him gravely a 
moment, then snuggled comfortably down again. "But 
then, I suppose you have read everything." Her father 
and Peter both laughed. 



18 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Were you reading 'Midsummer Night's Dream' out 
there?" 

"No, I've read that lots of times — long ago. I'm read- 
ing 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' now." 

"Mary, Mary, do you hear this? I think it's time our 
Betty had a little supervision in her reading." 

Mary Ballard came to the door from the tea table where 
she had been arranging her little set of delicate china, her 
one rare treasure and inheritance. "Yes, I knew she was 
reading — whatever she fancied, but I thought I wouldn't 
interfere — not yet. I have so little time, for one thing, 
and, anyway, I thought she might browse a bit. She's 
like a calf in rare pastures, and I don't think she under- 
stands enough to do her harm — or much good, either. 
Those things slide off from her like water off a duck's back." 

Betty looked anxiously up at her mother. What things 
was she missing ? She must read them all over again. 

"What else have you out there, Betty?" asked her 
father. 

Betty dropped her head shamefacedly. She never knew 
when she was in the right and when wrong. Sometimes 
the very things which seemed most right to her were most 
wrong. "That's 'Paradise Lost.' It was an old book, 
father. There was a tear in the back when I took it down. 
I like to read about Satan. I like to read about the mighty 
hosts and the angels and the burning lake. Is that hell ? 
I was pretending if the bees swarmed that they would be 
the mighty host of bad angels falling out of heaven." 

Again Peter flung back his head and laughed. He looked 
at the child with new interest, but Betty did not smile 
back at him. She did not like being laughed at. 



WATCHING THE BEES 19 

"It's true," she said; "they did fall out of heaven in a 
swarm, and it was like over at High Knob on the river 
bank, only a million times higher, because they were so 
long falling. 'From morn till noon they fell, from noon 
till dewy eve.' " Betty looked off into space with half- 
closed eyes. She was seeing them fall. "It was a long 
time to be in suspense, wasn't it, father ? " Then every one 
laughed. Even mother joined in. She was putting the 
last touches to the tea table. 

"Mary, my dear, I think we'd better take a little super- 
vision of the child's reading — I do, really." 

The gate at the end of the long path to the house clicked, 
and another lad came swinging up the walk, slightly taller 
than Peter Junior, but otherwise enough like him in ap- 
pearance to be his own brother. He was not as grave as 
Peter, but smiled as he hailed them, waving his cap above 
his head. He also wore the blue uniform, and it was new. 

"Hallo, Peter! You here?" 

" Of course I'm here. I thought you were never coming." 

"You did?" 

Betty sprang from her father's lap and ran to meet him. 
She slipped her hand in his and hopped along at his side. 
"Oh, Rich ! Are you going, too ? I wish I were you." 

He lifted the child to a level with his face and kissed her, 
then set her on her feet again. "Never wish that, Betty. 
It would spoil a nice little girl." 

"I'm not such a nice little girl. I — I — love Satan — 
and they're going to — to — supervise my reading." She 
clung to his hand and nodded her head with finality. He 
swung her along, making her take long leaps as they walked. 

"You love Satan ? I thought you loved me ! " 



20 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"It's the same thing, Rich," said Peter Junior, with a 
grin. 

Bertrand had gone to the kitchen door. "Mary, my 
love, here's Richard Kildene." She entered the living 
room, carrying a plate of light, hot biscuit, and hurried 
out to Richard, greeting him warmly — even lovingly. 

"Bertrand, won't you and the boys carry the table out 
to the garden?" she suggested. "Open both doors and 
take it carefully. It will be pleasanter here in the shade." 

The young men sprang to do her bidding, and the small 
table was borne out under the trees, the lads enumerating 
with joy the articles of Mary Ballard's simple menu. 

"Hot biscuits and honey ! My golly ! Won't we wish 
for this in about two months from now ?" said Richard. 

"Cream and caraway cookies!" shouted Peter Junior, 
turning back to the porch to help Bertrand carry the chairs. 
"Of course we'll be wishing for this before long, but that's 
part of soldiering." 

"We're not looking forward to a well-fed, easy time of it, 
so we'll just make the best of this to-night, and eat every- 
thing in sight," said Richard. 

Bertrand preferred to change the subject. "This is 
some of our new white clover honey," he said. "I took it 
from that hive over there last evening, and they've been 
working all day as if they had had new life given them. 
All bees want is a lot of empty space for storing honey." 

Richard followed Mrs. Ballard into the kitchen for the 
tea. "Where are the other children ?" he asked. 

"Martha and Jamie are spending a week with my 
mother and father. They love to go there, and mother — 
and father, also, seem never to have enough of them. 



WATCHING THE BEES 21 

Baby is still asleep, and I must waken him, too, or he won't 
sleep to-night. I hung a pail of milk over the spring to 
keep it cool, and the butter is there also — and the Dutch 
cheese in a tin box. Can you — wait, I'd better go with 
you. We'll leave the tea to steep a minute." 

They passed through the house and down toward the 
spring house under the maple and basswood trees at the 
back, walking between rows of currant bushes where the 
fruit hung red. 

"I hate to leave all this — maybe forever," said the boy. 
The corners of his mouth drooped a little, and he looked 
down at Mary Ballard with a tender glint in his deep blue 
eyes. His eyes were as blue as the lake on a summer's 
evening, and they were shaded by heavy dark brown lashes, 
almost black. His brows and hair were the same deep brown. 
Peter Junior's were a shade lighter, and his hair more curl- 
ing. It was often a matter of discussion in the village as 
to which of the boys was the handsomer. That they 
were both fine-looking lads was always conceded. 

Mary Ballard turned toward him impulsively. "Why 
did you do this, Richard? Why? I can't feel that this 
fever for war is right. It is terrible. We are losing the 
best blood in the land in a wicked war." She took his two 
hands in hers, and her eyes filled. "When we first came 
here, your mother was my dearest friend. You never 
knew her, but I loved her — and her loss was much to me. 
Richard, why didn't you consult us?" 

"I hadn't any one but you and your husband to care. 
Oh, Aunt Hester loves me, of course, and is awfully good to 
me — but the Elder — I always feel somehow as if he ex- 
pects me to go to the bad. He never had any use for my 



22 THE EYE OF DREAD 

father, I guess. Was my father — was — he no good? 
Don't mind telling me the truth : I ought to know." 

"Your father was not so well known here, but he was, in 
Bertrand's estimation, a royal Irish gentleman. We both 
liked him; no one could help it. Never think hardly of 
him." 

"Why has he never cared for me? Why have I never 
known him?" 

"There was a quarrel — or — some unpleasantness be- 
tween your uncle and him ; it's an old thing." 

Richard's lip quivered an instant, then he drew himself 
up and smiled on her, then he stooped and kissed her. 
"Some of us must go; we can't let this nation be broken 
up. Some men must give their lives for it ; and I'm one 
of those who ought to go, for I have no one to mourn for 
me. Half the class has enlisted." 

"I venture to say you suggested it, too ?" 
" "Well — yes." 

"And Peter Junior was the first to follow you ?" 

"Well, yes! I'm sorry — because of Aunt Hester — 
but we always do pull together, you know. See here, let's 
not think of it in this way. There are other ways. Per- 
haps I'll come back with straps on my shoulders and many 
Betty some day." 

" God grant you may ; that is, if you come back as you 
left us. You understand me ? The same boy ? " 

"I do and I will," he said gravely. 

That was a happy hour they spent at the evening meal, 
and many an evening afterwards, when hardship and 
weariness had made the lads seem more rugged and years 
older, they spoke of it and lived it over. 



CHAPTER m 
a mother's struggle 

"Come, Lady, come. You're slow this morning." 
Mary Ballard drove a steady, well-bred, chestnut mare 
with whom she was on most friendly terms. Usually her 
carryall was filled with children, for she kept no help, and 
when she went abroad, she must perforce take the children 
with her or spend an unquiet hour or two while leaving 
them behind. This morning she had left the children at 
home, and carried in their stead a basket of fruit and 
flowers on the seat beside her. "Come, Lady, come; just 
hurry a little." She touched the mare with the whip, a 
delicate reminder to haste, which Lady assumed to be a fly 
and treated as such with a switch of her tail. 

The way seemed long to Mary Ballard this morning, and 
the sim beating down on the parched fields made the air 
quiver with heat. The unpaved road was heavy with dust, 
and the mare seemed to drag her feet through it unneces- 
sarily as she jogged along. Mary was anxious and dreaded 
the visit she must make. She would be glad when it was 
over. What could she say to the stricken woman who 
spent her time behind closed blinds? Presently she left 
the dust behind and drove along under the maple trees that 
lined the village street, over cool roads that were kept well 
sprinkled. 

The Craigmiles lived on the main street of the town in 

23 



24 THE EYE OF DREAD 

the most dignified of the well-built homes of cream-colored 
brick, with a wide front stoop and white columns at the 
entrance. Mary was shown into the parlor by a neat 
serving maid, who stepped softly as if she were afraid of 
waking some one. The room was dark and cool, but the 
air seemed heavy with a lingering musky odor. The dark 
furniture was set stiffly back against the walls, the floor was 
covered with a velvet carpet of rich, dark colors, and oil 
portraits were hung about in heavy gold frames. 

Mary looked up at two of these portraits with pride, and 
rebelled that the light was so shut out that they must always 
be seen in the obscurity, for Bertrand had painted them, 
and she considered them her husband's best work. In 
the painting of them and the long sittings required the in- 
timacy between the two families had begun. Really it 
had begun before that, for there were other paintings in 
that home — portraits, old and fine, which Elder Craig- 
mile's father had brought over from Scotland when he 
came to the new world to establish a new home. These 
paintings were the pride of Elder Craigmile's heart, and the 
delight of Bertrand Ballard's artist soul. 

To Bertrand they were a discovery — an oasis in a desert. 
One day the banker had called him in to look at a canvas 
that was falling to pieces with age, in the hope that the artist 
might have the skill to restore it. From that day the in- 
timacy began, and a warm friendship sprang up between the 
two families, founded on Bertrand's love for the old works 
of art, wherein the ancestors of Peter Craigmile, Senior, 
looked out from their frames with a dignity and warmth 
and grace rarely to be met with in this new western land. 

Bertrand's heart leaped with joy as he gazed on one of 



A MOTHER'S STRUGGLE 25 

them, the one he had been called on to save if possible. 
"This must be a genuine Reynolds. Ah! They could 
paint, those old fellows !" he cried. 

" Genuine Reynolds ? Why, man, it is ! it is ! You 
are a true artist. You knew it in a moment." Peter 
Senior's heart was immediately filled with admiration for 
the younger man. "Yes, they were a good family — the 
Craigmiles of Aberdeen. My father brought all the old 
portraits coming to him to this country to keep the family 
traditions alive. It's a good thing — a good thing !" 

"She was a beautiful woman, the original of that por- 
trait." 

"She was a great beauty, indeed. Her husband took 
her to London to have it done by the great painter. Ah, 
the Scotch lasses were fine ! Look at that color ! You 
don't see that here, no ?" 

"Our American women are too pale, for the most part; 
but then again, your men are too red." 

"Ah ! Beef and red wine ! Beef and red wine ! With 
us in Scotland it was good oatcakes and home-brew — 
and the air. The air of the Scotch hills and the sea. You 
don't have such air here, I've often heard my father say. 
I've spent the greater part of my life here, so it's mostly 
the traditions I have — they and the portraits." 

Thus it came about that owing to his desire to keep up 
the line of family portraits, Peter Craigmile engaged the 
artist to paint the picture of his gentle, sweet-faced wife. 
She was painted seated, a little son on either side of her ; 
and now in the dimness she looked out from the heavy gold 
frame, a half smile playing about her lips, on her lap an 
open book, and about the low-cut crimson velvet bodice 



26 THE EYE OF DREAD 

rare old lace pinned at the bosom with a large brooch of 
wrought gold, framing a delicately cut cameo. 

As Mary Ballard sat in the parlor waiting, she looked 
up in the dusky light at this picture. Ah, yes ! Her 
Bertrand also was a great painter. If only he could be 
where he might become known and appreciated ! She 
sighed for another reason, also, as she regarded it : because 
the two little sons clasped by the mother's arms were both 
gone. Sunny-haired Scotch laddies they were, with fair, 
wide brows, each in kilt and plaid, with bare knees and 
ruddy cheeks. What delight her husband had taken in 
painting it ! And now the mother mourned unceasingly 
the loss of those little sons, and of one other whom Mary 
had never seen, and of whom they had no likeness. It 
was indeed hard that the one son left them, — their first- 
born, — their hope and pride, should now be going away to 
leave them, going perhaps to his death. 

The door opened and a shadow swept slowly across the 
room. Always pale and in black — wrapped in her mourn- 
ing — the shadow of sorrow never left this mother ; and 
now it seemed to envelop even Mary Ballard, bright and 
warm of nature as she was. 

Hester Craigmile barely smiled as she held out her 
slender, blue-veined hand. 

"It is very good of you to come to me, Mary Ballard, but 
you can't make me think I should be reconciled to this. 
No ! It is hard enough to be reconciled to the blows God 
has dealt me, without accepting what my husband and son 
see fit to give me in this." Her hand was cold and passive, 
and her voice was restrained and low. 

Mary Ballard's hands were warm, and her tones were 



A MOTHER'S STRUGGLE 27 

rich and full. She took the proffered hand in both her own 
and drew the shadow down to sit at her side. 

"No, no. I'm not going to try to make you reconciled, 
or anything. I've just come to tell you that I understand, 
and that I think you are justified in withholding your con- 
sent to Peter Junior's going off in this way." 

"If he were killed, I should feel as if I had consented to 
his death." 

"Of course you would. I should feel just the same. 
Naturally you can't forbid his going, — now, — for it's 
too late, and he would have to go with the feeling of dis- 
obedience in his heart, and that would be cruel to him, 
and worse for you." 

"I know. His father has consented; they think I am 
wrong. My son thinks I am wrong. But I can't! I 
can't ! " In her suppressed tones sounded the ancient wail 
of women — mothers crying for their sons sacrificed in 
war. For a few moments neither of them spoke. It was 
hard for Mary to break the silence. Her friend sat at her 
side withdrawn and still; then she lifted her eyes to the 
picture of herself and the children and spoke again, only 
breathing the words : "Peter Junior — my beautiful oldest 
boy — he is the last — the others are all gone — three of 
them." 

"Peter Junior is splendid. I thought so last evening as 
I saw him coming up the path. I took it home to myself 
— what I should feel, and what I would think if he were 
my son. Somehow we women are so inconsistent and 
foolish. I knew if he were my son, I never could give my 
consent to his going, never in the world, — but there ! 
I would be so proud of him for doing just what your boy 



28 THE EYE OF DREAD 

has done ; I would look up to him in admiration, and be 
so glad that he was just that kind of a man !" 

Hester Craigmile turned and looked steadily in her 
friend's eyes, but did not open her lips, and after a moment 
Mary continued : — 

"To have one's sons taken like these — is — is different. 
We know they are safe with the One who loved little chil- 
dren ; we know they are safe and waiting for us. But to 
have a boy grow into a young man like Peter Junior — so 
straight and fine and beautiful — and then to have him 
come and say: 'I'm going to help save our country and 
will die for it if I must! ' Why, my heart would grow big 
with thanksgiving that I had brought such an one into 
the world and reared him. I — What would I do ! I 
couldn't tell him he might go, — no, — but I'd just take 
him in my arms and bless him and love him a thousand 
times more for it, so he could go away with that warm feel- 
ing all about his heart; and then — I'd just pray and 
hope the war might end soon and that he might come back 
to me rewarded, and — and — still good." 

"That's it. If he would, — I don't distrust my son, — 
but there are always things to tempt, and if — if he were 
changed in that way, or if he never came back, — I would 
die." 

"I know. We can't help thinking about ourselves and 
how we are left — or how we feel — " Mary hesitated 
and was loath to go on with that train of thought, but her 
friend caught her meaning and rose in silence and paced 
the room a moment, then returned. 

"It is easy to talk in that way when one has not lost," 
she said. 



A MOTHER'S STRUGGLE 29 

"I know it seems so, but it is not easy, Hester Craigmile. 
It is hard — so hard that I came near staying at home 
this morning. It seemed as if I could not — could not — " 

"Yes, what I said was bitter, and it wasn't honest. You 
were good to come to me — and what you have said is true. 
It has helped me ; I think it will help me." 

"Then good-by. I'll go now, but I'll come again soon." 
She left the shadow sitting there with the basket of fruit 
and flowers at her side unnoticed and forgotten, and stepped 
quietly out of the darkened room into the sunlight and 
fresh air. 

"I do wish I could induce her to go out a little — or 
open up her house. I wish — ' ' Mary Ballard said no more, 
but shut her lips tightly on her thoughts, untied the mare, 
and drove slowly away. 

Hester Craigmile stood for a moment gazing on the picture 
of her little sons, then for an hour or more wandered up and 
down over her spacious home, going from room to room, 
mechanically arranging and rearranging the chairs and 
small articles on the mantels and tables. Nothing was out 
of place. No dust or disorder anywhere, and there was 
the pity of it. If only a boy's cap could be found lying 
about, or books left carelessly where they ought not to be ! 
One closed door she passed again and again. Once she 
laid her hand on the knob, but passed on, leaving it still 
unopened. At last she turned, and, walking swiftly down 
the long hall, entered the room. 

There the blinds were closed and the curtains drawn, and 
everything set in as perfect order as in the parlor below. 
She sat down in a chair placed back against the wall and 
folded her hands in her lap. No, it was not so hard for 



3 o THE EYE OF DREAD 

Mary Ballard. It would not be, even if she had a son old 
enough to go. Mary had work to do. 

On the wall above Hester's head was one of the portraits 
which helped to establish the family dignity of the Craig- 
miles. If the blinds had been open, one could have seen 
it in sharp contrast to the pale moth of a woman who sat 
beneath it. The painting, warm and rich in tone, was of a 
dame in a long-bodiced dress. She held a fan in her hand 
and wore feathers in her powdered hair. Her eyes gazed 
straight across the room into those of a red-coated soldier 
who wore a sword at his side and gold on his shoulders. 
Yes, there had been soldiers in the family before Peter 
Junior's time. 

This was Peter Junior's room, but the boy was there no 
longer. He had come home from college one day and had 
entered it a boy, and then he came out of it and down to his 
mother, dressed in his new uniform — a man. Now he 
entered it no more, for he stayed at the camp over on the 
high bluff of the Wisconsin River. He was wholly taken up 
with his new duties there, and his room had been set in 
order and closed as if he were dead. 

Sitting there, Hester heard the church clock peal out 
the hour of twelve, and started. Soon she would hear the 
front door open and shut, and a heavy tread along the 
lower hall, and she would go down and sit silently at 
the table opposite her husband, they two alone. There 
would be silence, because there would be nothing to say. 
He loved her and was tender of her, but his word was law, 
and in all matters he was dictator, lawmaker, and judge, 
and from his decisions there was no appeal. It never oc- 
curred to him that there ever need be. So Hester Craig- 






A MOTHER'S STRUGGLE 31 

mile, reserved and intense, closed her lips on her own 
thoughts, which it seemed to her to be useless to utter, and 
let them eat her heart out in silence. 

At the moment expected she heard the step on the floor 
of the vestibule, and the door opened, but it was not her 
husband's step alone that she heard. Surely it was Peter 
Junior's and his cousin's. Were they coming to dinner? 
But no word had been sent. Hester stepped out of the room 
and stood at the head of the stairs waiting. She did not 
wish to go down and meet her son before the others, and if he 
did not find her below, he would know where to look for her. 

Peter Senior was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, 
and he was always addressed as Elder, even by his wife and 
son. On the street he was always Elder Craigmile. She 
heard the men enter the dining room and the door close 
after them, but still she waited. The maid would have to 
be told to put two more places at the table, but Hester did 
not move. The Elder might attend to that. Presently 
she heard quick steps returning and knew her son was 
coming. She went to meet him and was clasped in his 
arms, close and hard. 

"You were waiting for me here ? Come, mother, come." 
He stroked her smooth, dark hair, and put his cheek to hers. 
It was what she needed, what her heart was breaking for. 
She could even let him go easier after this. Sometimes her 
husband kissed her, but only when he went a journey 
or when he returned, a grave kiss of farewell or greeting ; 
but in her son's clasp there was something of her own soul's 
pent-up longing. 

"You'll come down, mother? Rich came home with 
me. 




32 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Yes, I heard his voice. I am glad he came." 

"See here, mother ! I know what you are doing. This 
won't do. Every one who goes to war doesn't get killed 
or go to the bad. Look at that old redcoat up in my 
room. He wasn't killed, or where would I be now ? I'm 
coming back, just as he did. We are born to fight, we 
Craigmiles, and father feels it or he never would have given 
his consent." 

Slowly they went down the long winding flight of stairs 
— a flight with a smooth banister down which it had once 
been Peter Junior's delight to slide when there was no one 
nigh to reprove. Now he went down with his arm around 
his slender mother's waist, and now and then he kissed her 
cheek like a lover. 

The Elder looked up as they entered, with a slight wince 
of disapproval, the only demonstration of reproof he ever 
gave his wife, which changed instantly to as slight a smile, 
as he noticed the faint color in her cheek, and a brighter 
light in her eyes than there was at breakfast. He and 
Richard were both seated as they entered, but they rose 
instantly, and the Elder placed her chair with all the man- 
ner of his forefathers, a courtesy he never neglected. 

Hester Craigmile forced herself to converse, and tried to 
smile as if there were no impending gloom. It was here 
Mary Ballard's influence was felt by them all. She had 
helped her friend more than she knew. 

"I'm glad to see you, Richard ; I was afraid I might not." 

"Oh, no, Aunt Hester. I'd never leave without seeing 
you. I went into the bank and the Elder asked me to 
dinner and I jumped at the chance." 

"This is your home always, you know." 



A MOTHER'S STRUGGLE 33 

"And it's good to think of, too, Aunt Hester." 

She looked at her son and then her nephew. "You are 
so like in your uniforms I would not know you apart on 
the street in the dark," she said. Richard shot a merry 
glance in his uncle's eyes, then only smiled decorously with 
him and Peter Junior. 

"I wish you'd visit the camp and see us drill. We go 
like clockwork, Peter and I. They call us the twins." 

"There is a very good reason for that, for your mother 
and I were twins, and you resemble her, while Peter Junior 
resembles me," said the Elder. 

"Yes," said Hester, "Peter Junior looks like his father ; " 
but as she glanced at her son she knew his soul was hers. 

Thus the meal passed in quiet, decorous talk, touching on 
nothing vital, but holding a smoldering fire underneath. 
The young men said nothing about the fact that the regi- 
ment had been called to duty, and soon the camp on the 
bluff would be breaking up. They dared not touch on the 
past, and they as little dared touch on the future — indeed 
there might be no future. So they talked of indifferent 
things, and Hester parted with her nephew as if they were 
to meet again soon, except that she called him back when 
he was halfway down the steps and kissed him again. 
As for her son, she took him up to his room and there they 
stayed for an hour, and then he came out and she was left 
in the house alone. 




CHAPTER IV 

LEAVE-TAKING 

Early in the morning, while the earth was still a mass of 
gray shadow and mist, and the sky had only begun to show 
faint signs of the flush of dawn, Betty, awake and alert, 
crept softly out of bed, not to awaken Martha, who slept 
the sleep of utter weariness at her side. Martha had 
returned only the day before from her visit to her grand- 
father's, a long carriage ride away from Leauvite. 

Betty bathed hurriedly, giving a perfunctory brushing 
to the tangled mass of curls, and getting into her clothing 
swiftly and silently. She had been cautioned the night 
before by her mother not to awaken her sister by getting 
up at too early an hour, for she would be called in plenty 
of time to drive over with the rest to see the soldiers off. 
But what if her mother should forget ! So she put on her 
new white dress and gathered a few small parcels which 
she had carefully tied up the night before, and her hat and 
little white linen cape, and taking her shoes in her hand, 
softly descended the stairs. 

"Betty, Betty," her mother spoke in a sleepy voice from 
her own room as the child crept past her door; "why, my 
dear, it isn't time to get up yet. We shan't start for hours." 

"I heard Peter Junior say they were going to strike camp 
at daybreak, and I want to see them strike it. You don't 
need to get up. I can go over there alone." 

34 



LEAVE-TAKING 35 

"Why, no, child! Mother couldn't let you do that. 
They don't want little girls there. Go back to bed, dear. 
Did you wake Martha?" 

"Oh, mother. Can't I go downstairs? I don't want 
to go to bed again. I'll be very still." 

"Will you lie on the lounge and try to go to sleep 
again ? " 

"Yes, mother." 

Mary Ballard turned with a sigh and presently fell 
asleep, and Betty softly continued her way and obediently 
lay down in the darkened room below ; but sleep she could 
not. At last, having satisfied her conscience by lying 
quietly for a while, she stole to the open door, for in that 
peaceful spot the Ballards slept with doors and windows 
wide open all through the warm nights. Oh, but the world 
was cool and mysterious, and the air was sweet ! Little 
rustling noises made her feel as if strange beings were stir- 
ring ; above her head were soft chirpings, and somewhere 
a bird was calling an undulating, long-drawn note, low and 
sweet, like a tone drawn from her father's violin. 

Betty sat on the edge of the porch and put on her shoes, 
and then walked down the path to the gate. The white 
peonies and the iris flowers were long since gone, and on the 
Harvest apple trees and the Sweet Boughs the fruit hung 
ripening. All Betty's life long she never forgot this won- 
derful moment of the breaking of day. She listened for 
sounds to come to her from the camp far away on the river 
bluff, but none were heard, only the restless moving of her 
grandfather's team taking their early feed in the small 
pasture lot near by. 

How fresh everything smelled ! And the sky ! Surely 



36 THE EYE OF DREAD 

it must be like this in heaven ! It must be heaven showing 
through, while the world slept. She was glad she had 
awakened early so she might see it, — she and God and the 
angels, and all the wild things of earth. 

Slowly everything around her grew plainer, and long rays 
of color, faintly pink, streamed up into the sky from the 
eastern horizon; then suddenly some pale gray, floating 
clouds above her head blossomed into a wonderful rose laid 
upon a sea of ggld, then gradually turned shell-pink, then 
faded through changing shades to daytime clouds of white. 
She wondered if the soldiers saw it, too. They were break- 
ing camp now, surely, for it was day. Still she swung on 
the gate and dreamed, until a voice roused her. 

"So Betty sleeps all night on the gate like a chicken on 
the fence." A pair of long arms seized her and lifted her 
high in the air to a pair of strong shoulders. Then she was 
tossed about and her cheeks rubbed red against grandfather 
Clide's stubby beard, until she laughed aloud. "What are 
you doing here on the gate ?" 

"I was watching the sky. I think God looked through 
and smiled, for all at once it blossomed. Now the colors are 
gone." 

Grandfather Clide set her gently on her feet and stood 
looking gravely down on her for a moment. "So?" he 
said. 

"The soldiers are striking camp over there, and then 
they are going to march to the square, and then every one 
is to see them form and salute — and then they are to march 
to the station, and — and — then — and then I don't 
know what will be — I think glory." 

Her grandfather shook his head, his thoughtful face half 



LEAVE-TAKING 37 

smiling and half grave. He took her hand. "Come, 
we'll see what Jack and Jill are up to." He led her to the 
pasture lot and the horses came and thrust their heads 
over the fence and whinnied. "See? They want their 
oats." Then Betty was lifted to old Jack's bare back and 
grandfather led him by the forelock to the barn, while Jill 
followed after. 

"Did Jack ever 'fall down and break his crown/ grand- 
father?" 

"No, but he ran away once on a time." 

"Oh, did Jill come running after ? " 

"That she did." 

The sun had but just cast his first glance at High Knob, 
where the camp was, and Mary Ballard was hastily whipping 
up batter for pancakes, the simplest thing she could get 
for breakfast, as they were to go early enough to see the 
"boys" at the camp before they formed for their march 
to the town square. The children were to ride over in 
the great carriage with grandfather and grandmother Clide, 
while father and mother would take Bobby with them in 
the carryall. It was an arrangement liked equally by the 
three small children and the well-content grandparents. 

Betty came to the house, clinging to her grandfather's 
hand. He drew the large rocking-chair from the kitchen — 
where winter and summer it occupied a place by the win- 
dow, that Bertrand in his moments of rest and leisure might 
sit and read the war news aloud to his wife as she worked — 
out to a cool grass plot by the door, so that he might still 
be near enough to chat with his daughter, while enjoying 
the morning air. 

Betty found tidy little Martha, fresh and clean as a rose- 




38 THE EYE OF DREAD 

bud, stepping busily about, setting the table with extra 
places and putting the chairs around. Filled with self- 
condemnation at the sight of her sister's helpfulness, she 
dashed upstairs to do her part in getting all neat for the day. 
First she coaxed naughty little Jamie, who, in his night- 
shirt, was out on the porch roof fishing, dangling his shoe 
over the edge by its strings tied to his father's cane, to re- 
turn and be hustled into his trousers — funny little gar- 
ments that came almost to his shoe tops — and to stand 
still while "sister" washed his face and brushed his curly 
red hair into a state of semi-orderliness. 

Then there was Bobby to be kissed and coaxed, and 
washed and dressed, and told marvelous tales to beguile 
him into listening submission. "Mother, mayn't I put 
Bobby's Sunday dress on him?" called Betty, from the 
head of the stairs. 

"Yes, dear, anything you like, but hurry. Breakfast 
is almost ready;" then to Martha, "Leave the sweeping, 
deary, and run down to the spring for the cream." To her 
father, Mary explained : "The little girls are a great help. 
Betty manages to do for the boys without irritating them. 
Now we'll eat while the cakes are hot. Come, Bertrand." 

It was a grave mission and a sorrowful one, that early 
morning ride to say good-by to those youthful volunteers. 
The breakfast conversation turned on the subject with sub- 
dued intensity. Mary Ballard did not explain herself, — 
she was too busy serving, — but denounced the war in 
broad terms as "unnecessary and iniquitous," thus eliciting 
from her husband his usual exclamation, when an aphorism 
of more than ordinary daring burst from her lips : "Mary I 
why, Mary I I'm astonished !" 



LEAVE-TAKING 39 

"Every one regards it from a different point of view," 
said his wife, "and this is my point." It was conclusive. 

Grandfather Clide turned sideways, leaned one elbow 
on the table in a meditative way he had, and spoke slowly. 
Betty gazed up at him in wide-eyed attention, while Mary 
poured the coffee and Martha helped her mother by pass- 
ing the cakes. Bobby sat close to his comfortable grand- 
mother, who seemed to be giving him all her attention, but 
who heard everything, and was ready to drop a quiet word 
of significance when applicable. 

"If we bring the question down to its primal cause," 
said grandfather, "if we bring it down to its primal cause, 
Mary is right; for the cause being iniquitous, of course, 
the war is the same." 

"What is ' primal cause/ grandfather?" asked Betty. 

"The thing that began it all," said grandfather, regard- 
ing her quizzically. 

"I don't agree with your conclusion," said Bertrand, paus- 
ing to put sirup on Jamie's cakes, after repeated demands 
therefor. " If the cause be evil, it follows that to annihilate 
the cause — wipe it out of existence — must be righteous." 

"In God's good time," said grandmother Clide, quietly. 

" God's good time, in my opinion, seems to be when we 
are forced to a thing." Grandfather lifted one shaggy eye- 
brow in her direction. 

"At any rate, and whatever happens," said Bertrand, 
"the Union must be preserved, a nation, whole and un- 
divided. My father left England for love of its magnifi- 
cent ideals of government by the people. Here is to be the 
vast open ground where all nations may come and realize 
their highest possibilities, and consequently this nation 



40 THE EYE OF DREAD 

must be held together and developed as a whole in all its 
resources, and not cut up into small, ineffective, quarrel- 
some factions. To allow that would mean the ruin of a 
colossal scheme for universal progress." 

Mary brought her husband's coffee and put it beside 
his plate, as he was too absorbed to take it, and as she did 
so placed her hand on his shoulder with gentle pressure and 
their eyes met for an instant. Then grandfather Clide 
took up the thread. 

" Speaking of your father makes me think of my father, 
your old grandfather Clide, Mary. He fought with his 
father in the Revolutionary War when he was a lad no 
more than Peter Junior's age — or less. He lived through 
it and came to be a judge of the supreme court of New 
York, and helped to frame the constitution of that State, 
too. I used to hear him say, when I was a mere boy, — 
and he would bring his fist down on the table with an em- 
phasis that made the dishes rattle, for all he averred 
that he never used gesticulation to aid his oratory, — he 
used to say, — I remember his words, as if it were but yes- 
terday, — * Slavery is a crime which we, the whole nation, 
are accountable for, and for which we will be held account- 
able. If we as a nation will not do away with it by legis- 
lation or mutual compact justly, then the Lord will take 
it into his own hands and wipe it out with blood. He may 
be patient for a long while, and give us a good chance, but 
if we wait too long, — it may not be in my day — it may not 
be in yours, — he will wipe it out with blood ! ' and here was 
where he used to make the dishes rattle." 

" Maybe, then, this is the Lord's good time," said grand- 
mother. 



LEAVE-TAKING 41 

O 
"I believe in preserving the Union at any cost, slavery 

or no slavery," said Bertrand. 

"The bigger and grander the nation, the more rottenness, 
if it's rotten at heart. I believe it better — even at the 
cost of war — to wipe out a national crime, — or let those 
who want slavery take themselves out of it." 

Betty began to quivir^hrough all her little system of 
high-strung nerves f «nd sympatjiies. The talk was grow- 
ing heated, and she hated to listen to excited arguments ; 
yet she gazed and listened with fascinated attention. 

Bertrand looked up at his father-in-law. "Why, father! 
why, father ! I'm astonished ! I fail to see how permitting 
one tremendous evil can possibly further any good purpose. 
To my mind the most tremendous evil that could be per- 
petrated on this globe — the thing that would do more 
to set all progress back for hundreds of years, maybe — 
would be to break up this Union. Here in this country 
now we are advancing at a pace that covers the centuries 
of the past in leaps of a hundred years in one. Now cut 
this land up into little, caviling factions, and where are we ? 
Why, the very motto of the republic would be done away 
with — 'In Union there is strength.' I tell you slavery is 
a sort of Delilah, and the nation — if it is divided — will 
be like Sampson with his locks shorn." 

"Well, war is here," said Mary, "and we must send off 
our young men to the shambles, and later on fill up our 
country with the refuse of Europe in their stead. It will 
be a terrible blood-letting for both North and South, and it 
will be the best blood on both sides. I'm as sorry for the 
mothers down there as I am for ourselves. Did you get the 
apples, Bertrand ? We'd better start, to be there at eight." 



42 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"I put them in the carryall, my dear, Sweet Boughs and 
Harvest apples. The boys will have one more taste before 
they leave." 

"Father, we want to carry some. Put some in the 
carriage too," said Martha. 

"Yes, father. We want to eat some while we are on the 
way." ^-^ 

"Why, Jamie, they are for thVSoldiers ; they're not for 
us," cried Betty, in horror. To eat even one, it seemed to 
her, would be greed and robbery. 

In spite of the gravity of the hour to the older ones, the 
occasion took on an air of festivity to the children. In 
grandfather's dignified old family carriage Martha sat 
with demure elation on the back seat at her grandmother's 
side, wearing her white linen cape, and a wide-brimmed, 
low-crowned hat of Neapolitan straw, with a blue ribbon 
around the crown, and a narrow one attached to the front, 
the end of which she held in her hand to pull the brim down 
to shade her eyes as was the fashion for little girls of the 
day. She felt well pleased with the hat, and held the rib- 
bon daintily in her shapely little hand. 

At her feet was the basket of apples, and with her other 
hand she guarded three small packages. Grandmother 
wore a gray, changeable silk. The round waist fitted her 
plump figure smoothly, and the skirt was full and flowing. 
Her bonnet was made of the same silk shirred on rattan, 
and was not perched on the top of her head, but covered 
it well and framed her sweet face with a full, white tulle 
niching set close under the brim. 

Grandfather, up in front, drove Jack and Jill, who, he 
said, were "feeling their oats." Betty did not wonder, for 



LEAVE-TAKING 43 

oats axe sharp and must prick their stomachs. She sat 
with grandfather, — he had promised she should the night 
before, — and Jamie was tucked in between them. He 
ought to have been in behind with grandmother, but his 
scream of rebellion as he was lifted in brought instant 
yielding from Betty, when grandfather interfered and took 
them both. But when Jamie insisted on holding the reins, 
grandfather grew firm, and when screams again began, his 
young majesty was lifted down and placed in the road to 
remain until instant obedience was promised, after which 
he was restored to the coveted place and away they went. 

Betty's white linen cape blew out behind and her ribbons 
flew like blue butterflies all about her hat. She forgot to 
hold down the brim, as polite little girls did who knew how 
to wear their Sunday clothes. She, too, held three small 
packages in her lap. For days, ever since Peter Junior 
and Richard Kildene had taken tea with them in their 
new uniforms, the little girls had patiently sewed to make 
the articles which filled these packages. 

Mary Ballard had planned them. In each was a needle- 
book filled with needles large enough to be used by clumsy 
fingers, a pin ball, a good-sized iron thimble, and a case of 
thread and yarn for mending, buttons of various sizes, and 
a bit of beeswax, molded in Mary Ballard's thimble, to 
wax their linen thread. All were neatly packed in a case 
of bronzed leather bound about with firm braid, and tucked 
under the strap of the leather on the inside was a small 
pair of scissors. It was all very compact and tied about 
with the braid. Mother had done some of the hardest 
of the sewing, but for the most part the stitches had been 
painstakingly put in by the children's own fingers. 



i 



44 THE EYE OF DREAD 

The morning was cool, and the dust had been laid by a 
heavy shower in the night. The horses held up their heads 
and went swiftly, in spite of their long journey the day 
before. Soon they heard in the distance the sound of the 
drum, and the merry note of a fife. Again a pang shot 
through Betty's heart that she had not been a boy of 
Peter Junior's age that she might go to war. She heaved a 
deep sigh and looked up in her grandfather's face. It 
was a grizzled face, with blue eyes that shot a kindly glance 
sideways at her as if he understood. 

When they drew near, the horses danced to the merry 
tune, as if they would like to go, too. All the camp seemed 
alive. How splendid the soldiers looked in their blue uni- 
forms, their guns flashing in the sun ! Betty watched how 
their legs with the stripes on them seemed to twinkle as 
they moved all together, marching in companies. Back 
and forth, back and forth, they went, and the orders 
came to the children short and abrupt, as the men went 
through their maneuvers. They saw the sentinel pacing 
up and down, and wondered why he did it instead 
of marching with the other men. All these questions 
were saved up to ask of grandfather when they got 
home. They were too interested to do anything but 
watch now. 

At last, very suddenly it seemed, the soldiers broke ranks 
and scattered over the greensward, running hither and 
thither like ants. Betty again drew a long breath. Now 
they were coming, the soldiers in whom they were partic- 
ularly interested. 

"Can they do what they please now?" she asked her 
grandfather. 



LEAVE-TAKING 45 

"Yes, for a while." 

All along the sentry line carriages were drawn up, for 
this hour from eight till nine was given to the "boys" to 
see their friends for the last time in many months, maybe 
years, maybe forever. As they had come from all over the 
State, some had no friends to meet them, but guests were 
there in crowds, and every man might receive a handshake 
whether he was known or not. All were friends to these 
young volunteers. 

Bertrand Ballard was known and loved by all the youths. 
Some from the village, and others from the country around, 
had been in the way of coming to the Ballard home simply 
because the place was made an enjoyable center for them. 
Some came to practice the violin and others to sing. Some 
came to try their hand at sketching and painting and some 
just to hear Bertrand talk. All was done for them quite 
gratuitously on his part, and no laugh was merrier than his. 
Even the chore boy came in for a share of the Ballards' 
kindly help, sitting at Mary Ballard's side in the long winter 
evenings, and conning lessons to patch up an education 
snatched haphazard and hardly come by. 

Here comes one of them now, head up, smiling, and 
happy-go-lucky. "Bertrand, here comes Johnnie. Give 
him the apples and let him distribute them. Poor boy ! 
I'm sorry he's going ; he's too easily led," said Mary. 

"Oh ! Johnnie, Johnnie Cooper ! I've got something for 
you. We made them. Mother helped us," cried Martha. 
Now the children were out of the carriage and running 
about among their friends. 

Johnnie Cooper snatched Jamie from the ground and 
threw him up over his head, then set him down again and 



46 THE EYE OF DREAD 

took the parcel. Then he caught Martha up and set her 
on his shoulder while he peeped into the package. 

"Stop, Johnnie. Set me down. I'm too big now for 
you to toss me up." Her arms were clasped tightly under 
his chin as he held her by the feet. Slowly he let her slide 
to the ground and thrust the little case in his pocket, and 
stooping, kissed the child. 

"Til think of you and your mother when I use this," he 
said. 

"And you'll write to us, won't you, Johnnie ? " said Mary. 
"If you don't, I shall think something is gone wrong with 
you." He knew what she meant, and she knew he knew. 
"There are worse things than bullets, Johnnie." 

"Never you worry for me, Mrs. Ballard. We're going 
down for business, and you won't see me again until we've 
licked the 'rebs.'" He held her hand awkwardly for a 
minute, then relieved the tension by carrying off the two 
baskets of apples. "I know the trees these came from," he 
said, and soon a hundred boys in blue were eating Ber- 
trand's choicest apples. 

"Here come the twins !" said some one, as Peter Junior 
and Richard Kildene came toward them across the sward. 
Betty ran to meet them and caught Richard by the hand. 
She loved to have him swing her in long leaps from the 
ground as he walked. 

"See, Richard, I made this for you all myself — almost. 
I put C in the corner so it wouldn't get mixed with the 
others, because this I made especially for you." 

"Did you ? Why didn't you put R in the corner if you 
meant it for me? I think you meant this for Charley 
Crabbe." 



LEAVE-TAKING 47 

"No, I didunt." Betty spoke most emphatically. 
"Martha has one for him. I put C because — you'll see 
when you open it. Everything's bound all round with 
my very best cherry-colored hair ribbon, to make it very 
special, and that is what C is for. All the rest are brown, 
and this is prettier, and it won't get mixed with Peter 
Junior's." 

"Ah, yes. C is for cherry — Betty's hair ribbon; and 
the gold-brown leather is for Betty's hair. Is that it ? " 

"Yep." 

"Haven't I one, too ?" asked Peter Junior. 

"Yep. We made them just alike, and you can sew on 
buttons and everything." 

Thus the children made the leave-taking less somber, to 
the relief of every one. 

Grandfather and grandmother Clide had friends of their 
own whom they had come all the forty miles to see, — 
neighbor boys from many of the farms around their home, 
and their daughter-in-law's own brother, who was like a 
son to them. There he stood, lithe and strong and genial, 
and, alas ! too easy-going to be safe among the temptations 
of the camp. 

Quickly the hour passed and the call came to form ranks 
for the march to the town square, where speeches were to 
be made and prayers were to be read before the march to 
the station. 

Our little party waited until the last company had left 
the camp ground and the excited children had seen them 
all and heard the sound of the fife and drum to their last 
note and beat as the "boys in blue" filed past them and 
off down the winding country road among the trees. Noth- 



48 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



ing was said by the older ones of what might be in the 
future for those gallant youths — yes, and for the few men 
of greater years with them — as they wound out of sight. 
It was better so. Bobby fell asleep in Mary Ballard's 
arms as they drove back, and a bright tear fell from her 
wide-open, far-seeing eyes down on his baby cheek. 

It was no lack of love for his son that kept Elder Craig- 
mile away at the departure of the boys from their camp on 
the bluff. He had virtually said his say and parted from 
his son when he gave his consent to his going in the first 
place. To him war meant sacrifice, and the parting with 
sons, at no matter what cost. The dominant idea with 
him was ever the preservation of the Union. At nine 
o'clock as usual that morning he had entered the bank, and 
a few minutes later, when the troops formed on the square, 
he came out and took his appointed place on the platform, 
as one of the speakers, and offered a closing prayer for the 
confounding of the enemy after the manner of David of 
old — then he descended and took his son's hand, as he 
stood in the ranks, with his arm across the boy's shoulder, 
looked a moment in his eyes; then, without a word, he 
turned and reentered the bank. 



CHAPTER V 

THE PASSING OF TIME 

It was winter. The snow was blowing past the windows 
in blinding drifts, and the road in front of the Ballards' 
home was fast filling to the tops of the fences. A bright 
wood-fire was burning in the great cookstove, which had 
been brought into the living room for warmth and to econo- 
mize steps, as all the work of the household devolved on 
Mary and little Betty, since Martha spent the week days 
at the Deans in the village in order to attend the high school, 

Mary gazed anxiously now and then through the fast- 
frosting window panes on the opaque whiteness of the storm 
without, where the trees tossed their bare branches weirdly, 
like threatening gray phantoms, grotesque and dimly seen 
through the driving snow. It was Friday afternoon and 
still early, and brave, busy little Martha always came 
home on Fridays after school to help her mother on 
Saturdays. 

"Oh, I hope Martha hasn't started," said Mary. "Look 
out, Bertrand. This is the wildest storm we have had this 
year." 

"Mrs. Dean would never allow her to set out in this 
storm, I'm sure," said Bertrand. "I cautioned her yes- 
terday when I was there never to start when the weather 
seemed like a blizzard." 

Bertrand had painted in his studio above as long as the 

•49 



So THE EYE OF DREAD 

light remained, and now he was washing his brushes, care- 
fully swishing the water out of them and drawing each one 
between his lips to shape it properly before laying it down. 
Mary laid the babe in her arms in its crib, and rocked it a 
moment while she and Bertrand chatted. 

A long winter and summer had passed since the troops 
marched away from Leauvite, and now another winter was 
passing. For a year and a bit more, little Janey, the babe 
now being hushed to sleep, had been a member of the family 
circle. Thus it was that Mary Ballard seldom went to the 
village, and Betty learned her lessons at home as best she 
could, and tended the baby and helped her mother. But 
Bertrand and his wife had plenty to talk about; for he 
went out and saw their friends in the village, led the choir 
on Sundays, taught the Bible class, heard all the news, and 
talked it over with Mary. 

Thus, in one way or another, all the new books found their 
way into the Ballards' home, were read and commented on, 
even though books were not written so much for commer- 
cial purposes then as now, and their writers were looked up 
to with more respect than criticism. The Atlantic Monthly 
and LitteWs Living Age, Harper's Magazine, and the New 
York Tribune also brought up a variety of subjects for 
discussion. Now and then a new poem by Whittier, or 
Bryant, or some other of the small galaxy of poets who 
justly were becoming the nation's pride, would appear and 
be read aloud to Mary as she prepared their meals, or 
washed the dishes or ironed small garments, while Betty 
listened with intent eyes and ears, as she helped her mother 
or tended the baby. 

That afternoon, while the storm soughed without, the 



THE PASSING OF TIME 51 

cow and horse were comfortably quartered in their small 
stable, which was banked with straw to keep out the cold. 
Indoors, Jamie was whittling behind the warm cookstove 
over a newspaper spread to catch the chips, while Bobby 
played quietly in a corner with two gray kittens and a 
worsted ball. Janey was asleep in the crib which Betty 
jogged now and then while she knit on a sock for the sol- 
diers, — Mary and the two little girls were always knitting 
socks for the soldiers these days in their spare moments and 
during the long winter evenings, — Mary was kneading 
white loaves of bread with floury hands, and Bertrand sat 
close beside the window to catch the last rays of daylight 
by which to read the war news. 

Bertrand always read the war news first, — news of 
battles and lists of wounded and slain and imprisoned, and 
saddest of all, lists of the missing, — following closely the 
movements of their own company of "boys" f rom Leauvite. 
Mary listened always with a thought of the shadow in the 
banker's home, and the mother there, watching and wait- 
ing for the return of her boy. Although their own home 
was safe, the sorrow of other homes, devastated and mourn- 
ing, weighed heavily upon Mary Ballard, and she needed to 
listen to the stirring editorials of the Tribune, which Ber- 
trand read with dramatic intensity, to bolster up her faith 
in the rightness of this war between men who ought to be 
brothers in their hopes and ambitions for the national life 
of their great country. 

"I suppose it is too great a thing to ask — that such 
a tremendous and mixed nation as ours should be knit to- 
gether for the good of all men in a spirit of brotherly love 
— but what a thing to ask for ! What a thing to try for ! 



52 THE EYE OF DREAD 

If I were a man, I would pray that I might gain influence 
over my fellows just for that — just — for that," said 
Mary. 

"Ah," replied her husband, with fond optimism, "you 
need not say 'If I were a man,' for that. It is the women 
who have the influence ; don't you know that, Mary ?" 

Mary looked down at her work, an incredulous smile 
playing about her lips. 

"Well, my dear?" Bertrand loved a response. 

"Well, Bertrand? Men do like to talk about our 
' sweet influence/ don't they ? " Then she laughed outright. 

"But, Mary — but, Mary, it is true. Women do more 
with their influence than men can do with their guns," and 
Bertrand really meant what he said. Dusky shadows 
filled the room, but if the light had been stronger, he would 
have seen that little ironical smile still playing about his 
wife's lips. 

"Did you see Judge Logan again about those Waupaca 
lots?" 

Bertrand wondered what the lots had to do with the sub- 
ject, but suffered the digression patiently, for the feminine 
mind was not supposed to be coherent. "Yes, my love; 
I saw him yesterday." 

"What did you do about them ? I hope you refused." 

"No, my dear. I thought best not. He showed me 
very conclusively that in time they will be worth more — 
much more — than the debt." 

"Then why did he offer them to you for the debt ? The 
portrait you painted for him will be worth more, too, in 
time, than the debt. You remember when you asked me 
what I thought, I said we needed the money more now." 



THE PASSING OF TIME 53 

"Yes, I remember ; but this plan is a looking toward the 
future. I didn't think it wise to refuse." 

Mary said nothing, but went out, returning presently 
with two lighted candles. Bertrand was replenishing the 
fire. Had he been looking at her face with the light of the 
candles on it as she carried them, he would have noticed 
that little smile about her lips. 

"I'm very glad we brought the bees in yesterday/' he 
said. "This storm would have made it impossible to do it 
to-day, and we should have lost them." 

"How about those lectures, dear? The 'boys' are all 
gone now, and you won't have them to take up your time 
evenings, so you can easily prepare them. They will take 
you into the city now and then, and that will keep you in 
touch with the world outside this village." Bertrand had 
been requested to give a series of lectures on art in one of 
the colleges in the city. He had been well pleased and had 
accepted, but later had refused because of certain dictator- 
ship exercised by the Board, which he felt infringed on his 
province of a suitable selection of subjects. He was silent 
for a moment. Again Mary had irrelevantly and abruptly 
changed the subject of conversation. Where was the con- 
nection between bees and lectures? "I really wish you 
would, dear," urged Mary. 

"You still wish it after the affront the Board has given 
me?" 

"I know, but what do they know about art? I would 
give the lectures if it was only to be able — incidentally — 
to teach them something. Be a little conciliatory, dear." 

"I will make no concessions. If I give the lectures, I 
must be allowed to select my courses. It is my province." 



54 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Did you see Elder Craigmile about it ?" 

"I did." 

"And what did he say ?" 

"He seemed to think the Board was right." 

"I knew he would. You remember I asked you not to 
go to him about it, and that was why." 

"Why did you think so ? He assumes to be my friend." 

"Because people who don't know anything about art 
always are satisfied with their own opinions. They don't 
know anything to upset them. He knows more than some 
of them, but how much is that ? Enough to know that he 
owns some fine paintings ; but you taught him their value, 
now, didn't you ?" Bertrand smiled, but said nothing, and 
his wife continued. "Prepare the lectures, dear, for my 
sake. I love to know that you are doing such work." 

"I can't. The action of the Board is an insult to my 
intelligence. What are you smiling about?" 

"About you, dear." 

"Mary, why, Mary ! I — " 

But Mary only smiled the more. "You love my irrel- 
evance and inconsistency, you say, — " 

"I love any weakness that is yours, Mary. What are 
you keeping back from me?" 

"The weakness that is mine, dear." Again Mary 
laughed outright. "It would be useless to tell you — or 
to try to explain. I love you, isn't that enough ?" 

Bertrand thought it ought to be, but was not sure, and 
said so. Then Mary laughed again, and he kissed her, shak- 
ing his head dubiously, and took up his violin for solace. 
Thus an hour passed ; then Betty set the table for supper, 
and the long evening followed like many another evening, 



THE PASSING OF TIME 55 

filled with the companionship only comfortably married 
people know, while Bertrand read from the poets. 

Since, with a man's helplessness in such matters, he could 
not do the family mending, or knit for the soldiers, or re- 
model old garments into new, it behooved him to render 
such tasks pleasant for the busy hand and brain that must 
devise and create and make much out of little for economy's 
sake; and this Bertrand did to Mary's complete satis- 
faction. 

Evenings like these were Betty's school, and they seemed 
all the schooling she was likely to get, for the family funds 
were barely sufficient to cover the expenses of one child at 
a time. But, as Mary said, "It's not so bad for Betty to 
be kept at home, for she will read and study, anyway, because 
she likes it, and it won't hurt her to learn to be practical as 
well ;" and no doubt Mary was right. 

Bertrand was himself a poet in his appreciation and fine- 
ness of choice, and he read for Mary with all the effective- 
ness and warmth of color that he would put into a recitation 
for a large audience, carried on solely by his one sympa- 
thetic listener and his love for what he read ; while Betty, in 
her corner close to the lamp behind her father's chair, 
listened unnoticed, with eager soul, rapt and uplifted. 

As Bertrand read he commented. "These men who are 
writing like this are doing for this country what the Lake 
Poets did for England. They are making true literature 
for the nation, and saving it from banality. They are going 
to live. They will be classed some day with Wordsworth 
and all the rest of the best. Hear this from James Russell 
Lowell. It's about a violin, and is called 'In the Twi- 
light.' It's worthy of Shelley." And Bertrand read the 



56 THE EYE OF DREAD 

poem through, while Mary let her knitting fall in her lap 
and listened. He loved to see her listen in that way. 

"Read again the verse that begins: 'O my life.' I 
seem to like it best." And he read it over : — 

"O my life, have we not had seasons 
That only said, Live and rejoice ? 
That asked not for causes and reasons, 
But made us all feeling and voice ? 
When we went with the winds in their blowing, 

When Nature and we were peers, 
And we seemed to share in the flowing 
Of the inexhaustible years ? 
Have we not from the earth drawn juices 
Too fine for earth's sordid uses ? 
Have I heard, have I seen 
All I feel, all I know ? 
Doth my heart overween ? 
Or could it have been 
Long ago ? " 

"And the next, Bertrand. I love to hear them over 
again." And he read : — 

"Sometimes a breath floats by me, 

An odor from Dreamland sent, 
That makes the ghost seem nigh me 

Of a splendor that came and went, 
Of a life lived somewhere, I know not 

In what diviner sphere, 
Of memories that stay not and go not, 

Like music heard once by an ear 
That cannot forget or reclaim it, 
A something so shy, it would shame it 

To make it a show, 
A something too vague, could I name it, 



THE PASSING OF TIME 57 

For others to know, 
As if I had lived it or dreamed it, 
As if I had acted or schemed it, 

Long ago 1 " 

"And the last verse, father. I like the last best," cried 

Betty, suddenly. 

"Why, my deary. I thought you were gone to bed." 
"No, mother lets me sit up a little while longer when 

you're reading. I like to hear you." And he read for her 

the last verse: — 

"And yet, could I live it over, 

This life that stirs my brain, 
Could I be both maiden and lover, 
Moon and tide, bee and clover, 

As I seem to have been, once again, 
Could I but speak it and show it, 

This pleasure more sharp than pain, 
That baffles and lures me so, 
The world should once more have a poet, 
Such as it had 
In the ages glad, 
Long ago ! " 

Then, wishing to know more of the secret springs of his 
little daughters life, he asked: "Why do you love that 
stanza best, Betty, my dear?" 

Betty blushed crimson to the roots of her hair, for what 
she carried in her heart was too precious to tell, but she 
meant to be a poet. Even then, in the pocket of her calico 
dress lay a little book and a stubbed lead pencil, and in the 
book was already the beginning of her great epic. Her 
father had said the epic was a thing of the past, that in the 



58 THE EYE OF DREAD 

future none would be written, for that it was a form of ex- 
pressions that belonged to the world's youth, and that age 
brought philosophy and introspection, but not epics. 

She meant to surprise her father some day with this poem. 
The great world was so full of mystery — of seductive 
beauty and terror and of strange, enticing charm ! She 
saw and felt it always. Even now, in the driving, whirling 
storm without, in the darkness of her chamber, or when 
she looked through the frosted panes into the starry skies 
at midnight, always it was there all about her, — a some- 
thing unexpressed, unseen, but close — close to her, — the 
mystery which throbbed through all her small being, and 
which she was one day to find out and understand and put 
into her great epic. 

She thought over her father's question, hardly knowing 
why she liked that last stanza best. She slowly wound up 
her ball of yarn and thrust the needles through it, and 
dropped it into her mother's workbasket before she replied ; 
then, taking up her candle, she looked shyly in her father's 
eyes. 

"Because I like where it says: 'This pleasure more 
sharp than pain, That baffles and lures me so. ' " Then she 
was gone, hurrying away lest they should question her 
further and learn about the little book in her pocket. 

Thus time passed with the Ballards, many days swiftly 
flying, laden with a fair share of sweetness and pleasure, 
and much of harassment and toil, but in the main bringing 
happiness. 



CHAPTER VI 

.THE END OF THE WAR 

It was three years after the troops marched away from 
High Knob encampment before either Peter Junior or 
Richard Kildene were again in Leauvite, and then only 
Peter returned, because he was wounded, and not that he 
was unwilling to enlist again, as did Richard and many of 
the boys, when their first term of service was ended. He 
returned with the brevet of a captain, for gallant conduct 
in the encounter in which he received his wound, but only 
a shadow of the healthy, earnest boy who had stood in the 
ranks on the town square of Leauvite three years before ; 
yet this very fact brought life and hope to his waiting mother, 
now that she had the blessed privilege of nursing him back 
to strength. 

It seemed as though her long period of mourning ended 
when Peter Junior, pallid in his blue uniform, his hair 
darkened and matted with the dampness caused by weak- 
ness and pain, was borne in between the white columns of 
his father's house. When the news reached him that his 
son was lying wounded in a southern hospital, the Elder 
had, for the first time in many, many years, followed an 
impulse without pausing to consider his act beforehand. 
He left the bank on the instant and started for the scene of 
battles, only hurrying home to break the news first to his 
wife. Yielding to a rare tenderness, he touched her hair 

59 



60 THE EYE OF DREAD 

as he kissed her, and enjoined on her to remember that 
their son was not slain, but by a merciful Providence 
was only wounded and might be spared to them. She 
must thank the Lord and be ready to nurse him back to 
life. 

Why Providence should be thus merciful to their son 
rather than to many another son, the good Elder did not 
pause to consider. Possibly he thought it no more than 
just that the prayers of the righteous should be answered 
by a supernatural intervention between their sons and the 
bullets of the enemy. His ideas on this point were no doubt 
vague at the best, but certain it is that he returned from 
his long and difficult journey to the seat of strife after his 
boy, with a clearer notion of what war really was, and a 
more human sympathy for those who go and suffer, and, as 
might be anticipated with those of his temperament, an 
added bitterness against those whom he felt were to blame 
for the conflict. 

When Peter Junior left his home, his father had enjoined 
on him to go, not in the spirit of bitterness and enmity, but 
as an act of duty, to teach a needed lesson ; for surely the 
Lord was on the side of the right, and was using the men of 
the North to teach this needed lesson to those laboring in 
error. Ah ! it is a very different point of view we take when 
we suffer, instead of merely moralizing on the suffering of 
others ; especially we who feel that we know what is right, 
and lack in great part the imagination to comprehend the 
other man's viewpoint. To us of that cast of mind there 
is only one viewpoint and that is our own, and only a 
bodily departure to the other man's hilltop or valley, as 
the case may be, will open the eyes and enlarge the under- 



THE END OF THE WAR 61 

standing to the extent of even allowing our fellows to see 
things in another light from our own. 

In this instance, while the Elder's understanding had 
been decidedly enlarged, it had been in but one direc- 
tion, and the effect had not been to his spiritual bene- 
fit, for he had seen only the suffering of his own side, and, 
being deficient in power to imagine what might be, he had 
taken no charitable thought for the other side. Instead, a 
feeling of hatred had been stirred within him, — a feeling 
he felt himself justified in and therefore indulged and 
named: "Righteous Indignation." 

The Elder's face was stern and hard as he directed the 
men who bore his boy on the litter where to turn, and how 
to lift it above the banister in going up the stair so as not 
to jar the young man, who was too weak after the long 
journey to do more than turn his eyes on his mother's face. 

But that mother's face ! It seemed to him he had never 
seen it so radiant and charming, for all that her hair had 
grown silvery white in the three years since he had last 
kissed her. He could not take his eyes from it, and be- 
sought her not to leave his side, even when the Elder bade 
her go and not excite him, but allow him to rest. 

No sooner was her son laid on his own bed in his old room 
than she began a series of gentle ministrations most sweet 
to the boy and to herself. But the Elder had been told 
that all he needed now was rest and absolute quiet, and the 
surgeon's orders must be carried out regardless of all else. 
Hester Craigmile yielded, as always, to the Elder's will, 
and remained without, seated close beside her son's door, 
her hands, that ached to serve, lying idle in her lap, while 
the Elder brought him his warm milk and held it to his 



62 THE EYE OF DREAD 

lips, lifting his head to drink it, and then left him with the 
command to sleep. 

"Don't go in for an hour at least," he enjoined on his wife 
as he passed her and took his way to the bank, for it was 
too early for closing, and there would still be time for him 
to look into his affairs a bit. Thus for the banker the usual 
routine began. 

Not so for Hester Craigmile. Joy and life had begun 
for her. She had her boy again — quite to herself when the 
Elder was away, and the tears for very happiness came to 
her eyes and dropped on her hands unchecked. Had the 
Elder been there he would have enjoined upon her to be 
controlled and she would have obeyed, but now there was 
no need, and she wept deliciously for joy while she still 
sat outside the door and listened. Intense — eager — it 
seemed almost as if she could hear him breathe. 

" Mother!" Hark! Did he speak? "Mother!" It 
was merely a breath, but she heard and went swiftly to him. 
Kneeling, she clasped him, and her tears wet his cheek, but 
at the same time they soothed him, and he slept. It was 
thus the Elder found them when he returned from the bank, 
both sweetly sleeping. He did not take his wife away for 
fear of waking his son, nevertheless he was displeased with 
her, and when they met at table that evening, she knew it. 

The whole order of the house was changed because of 
Peter Junior's return. Blinds, windows, and doors were 
thrown open at the direction of the physician, that he 
might be given all the air and sunlight it was possible to 
admit ; else he would never gain strength, for so long had 
he lived in the open air, in rain and sun, that he had need 
now of every help nature could give. 



THE END OF THE WAR 63 

A bullet had struck him in the hip and glanced off at a 
peculiar angle, rendering his recovery precarious and long 
delayed, and causing the old doctor to shake his head with 
the fear that he must pass the rest of his life a cripple. 
Still, normal youth is buoyant and vigorous and mocks 
at physicians' fears, and after a time, what with heart at 
rest, with loving and unceasing care on his mother's part, 
and rigorous supervision on his father's, Peter Junior did 
at length recover sufficiently to be taken out to drive, and 
began to get back the good red blood in his veins. 

During this long period of convalescence, Peter Junior's 
one anxiety was for his cousin Richard. Rumors had 
reached him that his comrade had been wounded and taken 
prisoner, yet nothing definite had been heard, until at last, 
after much writing, he learned Richard's whereabouts, and 
later that he had been exchanged. Then, too ill and 
prison-worn to go back to his regiment, he appeared one 
day, slowly walking up the village street toward the banker's 
house. 

There he was welcomed and made much of, and the two 
young men spent a while together happily, the best of 
friends and comrades, still filled with enthusiasm, but with 
a wider knowledge of life and the meaning of war. These 
weeks were few and short, and soon Richard was back in 
the army. Peter Junior, envying him, still lay convalesc- 
ing and only able with much difficulty to crawl to the 
carriage for his daily drive. 

His mother always accompanied him on these drives, 
and the very first of them was to the home of the Ballards. 
It was early spring, the air was biting and cool, and Peter 
was unable to alight, but Mary and her husband came to 



64 THE EYE OF DREAD 

them where they waited at the gate and stood long, talk- 
ing happily. Jamie and Bobby followed at their heels and 
peered up curiously at the wounded soldier, but Betty was 
seized with a rare moment of shyness that held her back. 

Dear little Betty ! She had grown taller since Peter 
Junior had taken that last tea at the Ballards. No longer 
care free, the oldest but one, she had taken many of her 
mother's burdens upon her young shoulders, albeit not 
knowing that they were burdens, since they were wholly 
acts of love and joyously done. She was fully conscious 
of her advancing years, and took them very seriously, 
regarding her acts with a grave and serene sense of their 
importance. She had put back the wild hair that used to 
fly about her face until her father called her "An owl in 
an ivy bush" and her mother admonished her that her 
"head was like a mop." Now, being in her teens, she wore 
her dresses longer and never ran about barefooted, paddling 
in the brook below the spring, although she would like to 
do so ; still she was child enough to rim when she should 
walk, and to laugh when some would sigh. 

Her thoughts had been romantically active regarding 
Peter Junior, how he would look, and how splendid and 
great he was to have been a real soldier and come home 
wounded — to have suffered and bled for his country. 
And Richard, too, was brave and splendid. He must have 
been in the very front of the battle to have been taken 
prisoner. She wondered a little if he remembered her, but 
not much, for how could men with great work to do, like 
fighting and dying for their country, stop to think of a little 
girl who was still in short dresses when they had seen her 
last? 



THE END OF THE WAR 65 

Then, when the war was ended at last, there was Richard 
returned and stopping at his uncle's. In the few short 
visits he made at the Ballards* he greeted Betty as of old, 
as he would greet a little sister of whom he was fond, and 
she accepted his frank, old-time brotherliness in the same 
spirit, gayly and happily, revealing but little of herself, 
and holding a slight reserve in her manner which seemed 
to him quite delightful and maidenly. Then, all too sud- 
denly, he was gone again, but in his heart he carried a 
memory of her that made a continual undercurrent in his 
thoughts. 

And now Betty's father and mother were actually talk- 
ing with Peter Junior at their very gate. Impulse would 
have sent her flying to meet him, but that new, self-conscious 
shyness stayed her feet, for he was one to be approached 
with reverence. He was afflicted with no romantic shy- 
ness with regard to her, however. He quite forgot her, 
indeed, although he did ask in a general way after the 
children and even mentioned Martha in particular, as, 
being the eldest, she was best remembered. So Betty did 
not see Peter Junior this time, but she stood where she could 
see the top of the carriage from her bedroom window, 
whither she had fled, and she could see the blue sleeve of 
his coat as he put out his arm to take her mother's hand 
at parting. That was something, and she listened with 
beating heart for the sound of his voice. Ah, little he 
dreamed what a tumult he had raised in the heart of that 
young being whose imagination had been so stirred by all 
that she had read and heard of war, and the part taken in 
it by their own young men of Leauvite. That Peter 
Junior had come home brevetted a captain for his bravery 



66 THE EYE OF DREAD 

crowned him with glory. All that day Betty went about 
with dreams in her head, and coursing through them was 
the voice of the wounded young soldier. 

At last, with the slow march of time, came the proclama- 
tion of peace, and the nation so long held prostrate — a 
giant struggling against fetters of its own forging, blinded 
and strangling in its own blood — reared its head and 
cried out for the return of Hope, groping on all sides to 
gather the divine youth to its arms, when, as a last blow, 
dealt by a wanton hand, came the death of Lincoln. 

Then it was that the nation recoiled and bowed itself 
for a time, beaten and crushed — both North and South — 
and vultures gathered at the seat of conflict and tore at its 
vitals and wrangled over the spoils. Then it was that they 
who had sowed discord stooped to reap the Devil's own 
harvest, — a woeful, bitter, desperate time, when more 
enmity and deep rancor was bred and treasured up for 
future sorrow than during all the years of the honest and 
active strife of the war. 

In the very beginning that first news of the firing on Fort 
Sumter flew through the North like a tragic cry, and men 
felt a sense of doom hanging over the nation. Bertrand 
Ballard heard it and walked sorrowfully home to his wife, 
and sat long with bowed head, brooding and silent. Neigh- 
bor Wilcox heard it, and, leaving his business, entered his 
home and called his household together with the servants 
and held family worship — a service which it was his cus- 
tom to hold only on the Sabbath — and earnestly prayed 
for the salvation of the country, and that wisdom might 
be granted its rulers, after which he sent his oldest son to 
fight for the cause. Elder Craigmile heard it, and con- 



THE END OF THE WAR 67 

sented that his last and only son should enter the ranks 
and give his life, if need be, for the saving of the nation. 
Still, tempering all this sorrow and anxiety was the chance 
for action, and the hope of victory. 

But now, in this later time, when the strength of the 
nation had been wasted, when victory itself was dark with 
mourning for sons slain, the loss of the one wise leader to 
whom all turned with uplifted hearts seemed the signal for 
annihilation ; and then, indeed, it appeared that the proph- 
ecy of Mary Ballard's old grandfather had been fulfilled 
and the curse of slavery had not only been wiped out with 
blood, but that the greater curse of anarchy and misrule had 
taken its place to still further scourge the nation. 

Mary Ballard's mother, while scarcely past her prime, 
was taken ill with fever and died, and immediately upon 
this blow to the dear old father who was not yet old enough 
by many years to be beyond his usefulness to those who 
loved and depended on him, came the tragic death of 
Lincoln, whom he revered and in whom all his hopes for 
the right adjustment of the nation's affairs rested. Under 
the weight of the double calamity he gave up hope, and 
left the world where all looked so dark to him, almost before 
the touch of his wife's hand had grown cold in his. 

"Father died of a broken heart," said Mary, and turned 
to her husband and children with even more intensity of 
devotion. "For," she said, "after all, the only thing in 
life of which we can be perfectly sure is our love for each 
other. A grave may open at our feet anywhere at any time, 
and only love oversteps it." 

With such an animating spirit as this, no family can be 
wholly sad, aitd though poverty pinched them at times, and 



f-uc-r-.-v** 



68 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



sorrow had bitterly visited them, with years and thrift 
things changed. Bertrand painted more pictures and sold 
them; the children were gay and vigorous and brought 
life and good times to the home, and the girls grew up to 
be womanly, winsome lasses, light-hearted and good to 
look upon. 

Enough of the war and the evils thereof has been said 
and written and sung. Animosity is dead, and brother- 
hood and mutual service between the two opposing factions 
of one great family have taken the place of strife. Useless 
now to say what might have been, or how otherwise that 
terrible time of devastation and sorrow could have been 
avoided. Enough to know that at last as a nation, whole 
and undivided, we may pull together in the tremendous 
force of our united strength, and that now we may take up 
the "White Man's Burden" and bear it to its magnificent 
conclusion to the service of all mankind and the glory of 
God. 



CHAPTER VII 

A NEW ERA BEGINS 

Bertrand Ballard's studio was at the top of his house, 
with a high north window and roughly plastered walls of 
uncolored sand, left as Bertrand himself had put the plaster 
on, with his trowel marks over the surface as they happened 
to come, and the angles and projections thereof draped with 
cobwebs. 

When Peter Junior was able to leave his home and get 
about a little on his crutches, he loved to come there and 
rest and spend his idle hours, and Bertrand found pleasure 
in his companionship. They read together, and sang to- 
gether, and laughed together, and no sound was more 
pleasant to Mary Ballard's ears than this same happy 
laughter. Peter had sorely missed the companionship of 
his cousin, for, at the close of the war, no longer a boy and 
unwilling to be dependent and drifting, Richard had sought 
out a place for himself in the work of the world. 

First he had gone to Scotland to visit his mother's aunts. 
There he found the two dear old ladies, sweetly observant 
of him, willing to tell him much of his mother, who had 
been scarcely younger than the youngest of them, but 
discreetly reticent about his father. From this he gathered 
that for some reason his father was under a cloud. Yet 
he did not shrink from trying to learn from them all they 
knew about him, and for what reason they spoke as if to 

69 



70 THE EYE OF DREAD 

even mention his name was an indiscretion. It was really 
little they knew, only that he had gravely displeased their 
nephew, Peter Craigmile, who had brought Richard up, 
and who was his mother's twin brother. 

"But why did Uncle Peter have to bring me up ? You 
say he quarreled with my father ?" 

"Weel, ye see, ye'r mither was dead." It was Aunt 
Ellen, the elder by twenty years, who told him most about 
it, she who spoke with the broadest Scotch. 

"Was my father a bad man, that Uncle 'Elder' disliked 
him so?" 

"Weel now, I'd no say that; he was far from that to be 
right fair to them both — for ye see — ye'r mither would 
never have loved him if he'd been that — but he — he was 
an Irishman, and ye'r Uncle Peter could never thole an 
Irishman, and he — he — fair stole ye'r mither from us a' 
— an — " she hesitated to continue, then blurted out the 
real horror. "Your Uncle Peter kenned he had ance been 
in the theayter, a sort o' an actor body an' he couldna thole 
that." 

But little was to be gained with all his questioning, and 
what he could learn seemed no more than that his father 
had done what any man might be expected to do if some one 
stood between him and the girl he loved ; so Richard felt 
that there must be something unknown to any one but his 
uncle that had tinned them all against his father. Why had 
his father never appeared to claim his son ? Why had he 
left his boy to be reared by a man who hated the boy's 
father ? It was a strange thing to do, and it must be that 
his father was dead. 

At this time Richard was filled with ambitions, — fired 



A NEW ERA BEGINS 71 

by his early companionship with Bertrand Ballard, — and 
thought he would go to France and become an artist ; — to 
France, the Mecca of Bertrand's dreams — he desired of 
all things to go there for study. But of all this he said 
nothing to any one, for where was the money ? He would 
never ask his uncle for it, and now that he had learned that 
he had been all his young life really a dependent on the 
bounty of his Uncle Peter, he could no longer accept his 
help. He would hereafter make his own way, asking no 
favors. 

The old aunts guessed at his predicament, and offered 
to give him for his mother's sake enough to carry him 
through the first year, but he would not allow them to take 
from their income to pay his bills. No, he would take his 
way back to America, and find a place for himself in the new 
world; seek some active, stirring work, and save money, 
and sometime — sometime he would do the things his heart 
loved. He often thought of Betty, the little Betty who used 
to run to meet him and say such quaint things ; some day 
he would go to her and take her with him. He would work 
first and do something worthy of so choice a little mortal. 

Thus dreaming, after the manner of youth, he went to 
Ireland, to his father's boyhood home. He found only 
distant relatives there, and learned that his father had 
disposed of all he ever owned of Irish soil to an Englishman. 
A cousin much older than himself owned and still lived on 
the estate that had been his grandfather Kildene's, and 
Richard was welcomed and treated with openhearted 
hospitality. But there, also, little was known of his father, 
only that the peasants on the estate remembered him 
lovingly as a free-hearted gentleman. 



72 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Even that little was a relief to Richard's sore heart. 
Yes, his father must be dead. He was sorry. He was a 
lonely man, and to have a relative who was his very own, 
as near as a father, would be a great deal. His cousin, 
Peter Junior, was good as a friend, but from now on they 
must take paths that diverged, and that old intimacy must 
naturally change. His sweet Aunt Hester he loved, and 
she would fill the mother's place if she could, but it was not 
to be. It would mean help from his Uncle Peter, and that 
would mean taking a place in his uncle's bank, which had 
already been offered him, but which he did not want, which 
he would not accept if he did want it. 

So, after a long and happy visit at his cousin Kildene's, 
in Ireland, he at last left for America again, and plunged 
into a new, interesting, and vigorous life, one that suited 
well his energetic nature. He found work on the great 
railway that was being built across the plains to the Pacific 
Coast. He started as an engineer's assistant, but soon his 
talent for managing men caused his employers to put him 
in charge of gangs of workmen who were often difficult and 
lawless. He did not object ; indeed he liked the new job 
better than that he began with. He was more interested 
in men than materials. 

The life was hard and rough, but he came to love it. 
He loved the wide, sweeping prairies, and, later on, the 
desert. He liked to lie out under the stars, — often when 
the men slept under tents, — his gun at his side and his 
thoughts back on the river bluffs at Leauvite. He did a 
lot of dreaming and thinking, and he never forgot Betty. 
He thought of her as still a child, although he was expecting 
her to grow up and be ready for him when he should return 



A NEW ERA BEGINS 73 

to her. He had a vague sort of feeling that all was under- 
stood between them, and that she was quietly becoming 
womanly, and waiting for him. 

Peter Junior might have found other friends in Leauvite 
had he sought them out, but he did not care for them. 
His nature called for what he found in Bertrand's studio, 
and he followed the desire of his heart regardless of anything 
else, spending all the time he could reasonably filch from 
his home. And what wonder ! Richard would have done 
the same and was even then envying Peter the opportunity, 
as Peter well knew from his cousin's letters. There was no 
place in the village so fascinating and delightful as this 
little country home on its outskirts, no conversation more 
hopeful and helpful than Bertrand's, and no welcome 
sweeter or kinder than Mary Ballard's. 

One day, after Richard had gone out on the plains with 
the engineers of the projected road, Peter lay stretched on a 
long divan in the studio, his head supported by his hand 
as he half reclined on his elbow, and his one crutch — he had 
long since discarded the other — within reach of his arm. 
His violin also lay within reach, for he had been playing 
there by himself, as Bertrand had gone on one of his rare 
visits to the city a hundred miles away. 

Betty Ballard had heard the wail of his violin from the 
garden, where she had been gathering pears. That was 
how she knew where to find him when she quickly appeared 
before him, rosy and flushed from her rim to the house and 
up the long flight of stairs. 

As Peter lay there, he was gazing at the half-finished 
copy he had been making of the head of an old man, for 
Peter had decided, since in all probability he would be good 



74 THE EYE OF DREAD 

for no active work such as Richard had taken up, that he too 
would become an artist, like Bertrand Ballard. To have 
followed his cousin would have delighted his heart, for he 
had all the Scotchman's love of adventure, but, since that 
was impossible, nothing was more alluring than the thought 
of fame and success as an artist. He would not tie himself 
to Leauvite to get it. He would go to Paris, and there 
he would do the things Bertrand had been prevented from 
doing. Poor Bertrand ! How he would have loved the 
chance Peter Junior was planning for himself as he lay there 
dreaming and studying the half-finished copy. 

Suddenly he beheld Betty, standing directly in front of 
the work, extending to him a folded bit of paper. "Here's 
a note from your father," she cried. 

Looking upon her thus, with eyes that had been filled 
with the aged, rugged face on the canvas, Betty appealed 
to Peter as a lovely vision. He had never noticed before, 
in just this way, her curious charm, but these months of 
companionship and study with Bertrand had taught him 
to see beauty understandingly, and now, as she stood 
panting a little, with breath coming through parted lips 
and hair flying almost in the wild way of her childhood, 
Peter saw, as if it were a revelation, that she was lovely. 
He raised himself slowly and reached for the note without 
taking his eyes from her face. 

He did not open the letter, but continued to look in her 
eyes, at which she turned about half shyly. "I heard your 
violin ; that's how I knew you were up here. Oh ! Have 
you been painting on it again ? " 

"On my violin ? No, I've been playing on it." 

"No ! Painting on the picture of your old man. I think 



A NEW ERA BEGINS 75 

you have it too drawn out and thin. He's too hollow there 
under the cheek bone. ,, 

"Is he, Miss Critic? Well, thank your stars you're 
not." 

"I know. I'm too fat." She rubbed her cheek until it 
was redder than ever. 

"What are you painting your cheeks for ? There's color 
enough on them as they are." 

She made a little mouth at him. "I could paint your old 
man as well as that, I know." 

"I know you could. You could paint him far better 
than that." 

She laughed, quickly repentant. " I didn't say that to be 
horrid. I only said it for fun. I couldn't." 

"And I know you could." He rose and stood without 
his crutch, looking down on her. "And you're not 'too 
long drawn out,' a*e you? See? You only come up to 
— about — here on me." He measured with his hand a 
little below his chin. 

"I don't care. You're not so awfully tall." 

"Very well, have it so. That only makes you the 
shorter." 

"I tell you I don't care. You'd better stop staring at 
me, if I'm so little, and read your letter. The man's wait- 
ing for it. That's why I ran all the way up here." By 
this it may be seen that Betty had lost all her awe of the 
young soldier. Maybe it left her when he doffed his uni- 
form. "Here's your crutch. Doesn't it hurt you to stand 
alone ?" She reached him the despised prop. 

"Hurt me to stand alone? No! I'm not a baby. Do 
you think I'm likely to grow up bow-legged ? " he thundered, 



76 THE EYE OF DREAD 

taking it from her hand without a thank-you, and glaring 
-down on her humorously. "You're a bit cruel to remind 
me of it. I'm going to walk with a cane hereafter, and next 
thing you know you'll see me stalking around without 
either." 

"Why, Peter Junior ! I'd be so proud of that crutch I 
wouldn't leave it off for anything ! I'd always Kmp a little, 
even if I didn't use it. Cruel? I was complimenting 
you." 

" Complimenting me ? How ? " 

"By reminding you that you had been brave — and had 
been a soldier — and had been wounded for your country 
— and had been promoted — and — " 

But Peter drowned her voice with uproarious laughter, 
and suddenly surprised himself as well as her by slipping his 
arm around her waist and stopping her lips with a kiss. 

Betty was surprised but not shocked. She knew of no 
reason why Peter should not kiss her even though it was not 
his custom to treat her thus. In Betty's home, demon- 
strative expressions of affection were as natural as sunlight, 
and why should not Peter like her ? Therefore it was Peter 
who was shocked, and embarrassed her with his sudden 
apology. 

"I don't care if you did kiss me. You're just like my 
big brother — the same as Richard is — and he often used 
to kiss me." She was trying to set Peter at his ease. 
"And, anyway, I like you. Why, I supposed of course you 
liked me — only naturally not as much as I liked you." 

"Oh, more ! Much more !" he stammered tremblingly. 
He knew in his heart that there was a subtle difference, 
and that what he felt was not what she meant when 



A NEW ERA BEGINS 77 

she said, "I like you." "I'm sure it is I who like you the 
most." 

"Oh, no, it isn't ! Why, you never even used to see me. 
And I — I used to gaze on you — and be so romantic ! It 
was Richard who always saw me and played with me. He 
used to toss me up, and I would run away down the road 
to meet him. I wonder when he's coming back ! I wish 
he'd come. Why don't you read your father's letter? 
The man's waiting, you know." 

"Ah, yes. And I suppose Dad's waiting, too. I wonder 
why he wrote me when he can see me every day !" 

"Well, read it. Don't stand there looking at it and 
staring at me. Do you know how you look? You look 
as if it were a message from the king, saying: 'You are 
remanded to the tower, and are to have your head struck 
off at sundown.' That's the way they did things in the 
olden days." She turned to go. 

"Stay here until I see if you are right." He dropped 
on the divan and made room for her at his side. 

"All right ! That's what I wanted to do, but I thought 
it wouldn't be polite to be curious." 

"But you wouldn't be polite anyway, you know, so you 
might as well stay. M-m-m. I'm remanded to the tower, 
sure enough. Father wants me to meet him in the director's 
room as soon as banking hours are over. Fine old Dad ! 
He wouldn't think of infringing on banking hours for any 
private reasdns unless the sky were falling, and even then 
he would save the bank papers first. See here — Betty — 
er — never mind. I'll tell you another time." 

" Please tell me now ! What is it ? Something dreadful, 
Peter Junior?" 



78 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"I wasn't thinking about this; it — it's something 
eke—" 

"About what?" 

"About you." 

"Oh, then it is no consequence. I want to hear what's 
in the letter. Why did you tell me to stay if you weren't 
going to tell me what's in it ? " 

"Nothing. We have had a little difference of opinion, 
my father and I, and he evidently wants to settle it out of 
hand his way, by summoning me in this official manner to 
appear before him at the bank." 

" I know. He thinks you are idling away your time here 
trying to paint pictures, and he wishes to make a respect- 
able banker of you." She reached over and began picking 
the strings of his violin. 

"You musn't finger the strings of a violin that way." 

"Why not? I want to see if I can pick out 'The Star 
Spangled Banner' on it. I can on the flute, father's old 
one; he lets me." 

"Because you'll get them oily." 

She spread out her two firm little hands. "My fingers 
aren't greasy !" she cried indignantly; "that's pear juice on 
them." 

Peter Junior's gravity turned to laughter. "Well, I 
don't want pear juice on my strings. Wait, you rogue, I'm 
going to kiss you again." 

"No, you're not, you old hobble-de-hoy. You can't 
catch me." When she was halfway down the stairs, she 
called back, "The man's waiting." 

"Coward ! Coward !" he called after her, "to run away 
from a poor old cripple and then call him names." He 



A NEW ERA BEGINS 79 

thrust the letter into his pocket, and seizing his crutch 
began deliberately and carefully to descend the stairs, with 
grave, set face, not unlike his father's. 

" Catch, Peter Junior," called Betty from the top of the 
pear tree as he passed down the garden path, and tossed 
him a pear which he caught, then another and another. 
"There! No, don't eat them now. Put them in your 
desk, and next month they'll be just as sweet !" 

"Will they? Just like you? I'll be even with you 
yet — when I catch you." 

"You'll get pear juice on your strings. There are lots of 
nice girls in the village for you to kiss. They'll do just as 
well as me." 

"Good girl. Good grammar. Good-by." He waved 
his hand toward Betty, and turned to the waiting servant. 
"You go on and tell the Elder I'm coming right along," 
he said, and hopped off down the road. It was only lately 
he had begun to take long walks or hops like this, with but 
one crutch, but he was growing frantic to be fairly on his 
two feet again. The doctor had told him he never would 
be, but he set his square chin, and decided that the doctor 
was wrong. More than ever to-day, with the new touch of 
little pear-stained fingers on his heart, he wanted to walk 
off like other men. 

Now he tried to use his lame leg as much as possible. 
If only he might throw away the crutch and walk with a 
cane, it would be something gained. With one hand in his 
pocket he crushed his father's letter into a small wad, then 
tossed it in the air and caught it awhile, then put it back in 
his pocket and hobbled on. 

The atmosphere had the smoky appearance of the fall, 



80 THE EYE OF DREAD 

and the sweet haze of Indian summer lay over the land- 
scape, the horizon only faintly outlined through it. Peter 
Junior sniffed the air. He wondered if the forests in the 
north were afire. Golden maple leaves danced along on 
the path before him, whirled hither and thither by the light 
breeze, and the wild asters and goldenrod powdered his 
dark trousers with pollen as he brushed them in passing. 
All the world was lovely, and he appreciated it as he had 
never been able to do before. Bertrand's influence had 
permeated his thoughts and widened thus his reach of 
happiness. 

He entered the bank just at the closing hour, and the 
staid, faithful old clerks nodded to him as he passed through 
to the inner room, where he found his father awaiting him. 
He dropped wearily into a swivel chair before the great 
table and placed his crutch at his feet ; wiping the perspira- 
tion from his forehead, he leaned forward, and rested his 
elbows on the table. 

The young man's wan look, for the walk had taxed his 
strength, reminded his father of the day he had brought 
the boy home wounded, and his face relaxed. 

"You are tired, my son." 

"Oh, no. Not very. I have been more so." Peter 
Junior smiled a disarming smile as he looked in his father's 
face. "I've tramped many a mile on two sound feet 
when they were so numb from sheer weariness that I could 
not feel them or know what they were doing. What did 
you want to say to me, father ?" 

"Well, my son, we have different opinions, as you know, 
regarding your future." 

"I know, indeed." 



A NEW ERA BEGINS 8r 



IT 



"And a father's counsel is not to be lightly disposed of. 

"I have no intention of doing so, father." 

"No, no. But wait. You have been loitering the day 
at Mr. Ballard's ? Yes." 

"I have nothing else to do, father, — and — " Peter 
Junior's smile again came to the rescue. "It isn't as 
though I were in doubtful company — I — there are worse 
places here in the village where I might — where idle men 
waste their time." 

"Ah, yes. But they are not for you — not for you, my 
son." The Elder smiled in his turn, and lifted his brows, 
then drew them down and looked keenly at his son. The 
afternoon sunlight streamed through the high western win- 
dow and fell on the older man's face, bringing it into 
strong relief against the dark oak paneling behind him, and 
as Peter Junior looked on his father he received his second 
revelation that day. He had not known before what a 
strong, fine old face his father's was, and for the second 
time he surprised himself, when he cried out : — 

"I tell you, father, you have a magnificent head ! I'm 
going to make a portrait of you just as you are — some 
day." 

The Elder rose with an indignant, despairing downward 
motion of the hands and began pacing the floor, while 
Peter Junior threw off restraint and laughed aloud. The 
laughter freed his soul, but it sadly irritated the Elder. He 
did not like unusual or unprecedented things, and Peter 
Junior was certainly not like himself, and was acting in an 
unprecedented manner. 

"You have now regained a fair amount of strength and 
have reached an age when you should think seriously of 



82 THE EYE OF DREAD 

what you are to do in life. As you know, it has always been 
my intention that you should take a place here and fit your- 
self for the responsibilities that are now mine, but which 
will some day devolve on you." 

Peter Junior raised his hand in protest, then dropped it. 
"I mean to be an artist, father." 

"Faugh! An artist? Look at your friend, Bertrand 
Ballard. What has he to live on ? What will he have laid 
by for his old age ? How has he managed to live all these 
years — he and his wife ? Miserable hand-to-mouth exist- 
ence ! I'll see my son trying to emulate him ! You'll 
be an artist ? And how will you support a wife if you ever 
have one ? You mean to marry some day ? " 

"I mean to marry Betty Ballard," said Peter Junior, 
with a rugged set of his jaw. 

Again the Elder made that despairing downward thrust 
with his open hands. "Take a wife who has nothing, and 
a career which brings in nothing, and live on what your 
father has amassed for you, and leave your sons nothing — 
a pretty way for you to carry on the work I have begun for 
you — to — establish an honorable family — " 

"Father, father, I mean to do all I can to please you. 
I'll be always dutiful — and honorable — but you must 
leave me my manhood. You must allow me to choose my 
own path in life." 

The Elder paced the floor a few moments longer, then 
resumed his chair opposite his son, and, leaning back, looked 
across the table at his boy, meditatively, with half-closed 
eyes. At last he said, "We'll take this matter to the Lord, 
and leave it in his hands." 

Then Peter Junior cried out upon him : "No, no, father; 



A NEW ERA BEGINS 83 

spare me that. It only means that you'll state to the 
Lord what is your own way, and pray to have it, and then 
be more than ever convinced that it is the Lord's way." 

"My son, my son !" 

"It's so, father. I'm willing to ask for guidance of the 
Lord, but I'm not willing to have you dictate to the Lord 
what — what I must do, and so whip me in line with the 
scourge of prayer." Peter Junior paused, as he looked in 
his father's face and saw the shocked and sorrowful expres- 
sion there instead of the passionate retort he expected. 
"I am wrong to talk so, father; forgive me; but — have 
patience a little. God gave to man the power of choice, 
didn't he?" 

" Certainly. Through it all manner of evil came into the 
world." 

"And all manner of good, too. I — a man ought not 
to be merely an automaton, letting some one else always 
exercise that right for him. Surely the right of choice 
would never have been given us if it were not intended that 
each man should exercise it for himself. One who does 
not is good for nothing." 

"There is the command you forget ; that of obedience to 
parents." 

"But how long — how long, father? Am I not man 
enough to choose for myself ? Let me choose." 

Then the Elder leaned forward and faced his son as his 
son was facing him, both resting their elbows on the table 
and gazing straight into each other's eyes; and the old 
man spoke first. 

"My father founded this bank before I was born. He 
came from Scotland when he was but a lad, with his parents, 



84 THE EYE OF DREAD 

and went to school and profited by his opportunities. He 
was of good family, as you know. When he was still a 
very young man, he entered a bank in the city as clerk, and 
received only ten dollars a week for his services, but he 
was a steady, good lad, and ambitious, and soon he moved 
higher — and higher. His father had taken up farming, 
and at his death, being an only son, he converted the 
farm, all but the homestead, which we still own, and 
which will be yours, into capital, and came to town and 
started this bank. When I was younger than you, my son, 
I went into the bank and stood at my father's right hand, 
as I wish you — for your own sake — to do by me. We 
are a set race — a determined race, but we are not an in- 
subordinate race, my son." 

Peter Junior was silent for a while ; he felt himself being 
beaten. Then he made one more plea. "It is not that I 
am insubordinate father, but, as I see it, into each genera- 
tion something enters, different from the preceding one. 
New elements are combined. In me there is that which 
my mother gave me." 

"Your mother has always been a sweet woman, yielding 
to the judgment of her husband, as is the duty of a good 
wife." 

"I know she was brought up and trained to think that 
her duty, but I doubt if you really know her heart. Did you 
ever try to know it ? I don't believe you understood what 
I meant by the scourge of prayer. She would have known. 
She has lived all these years under that lash, even though it 
has been wielded by the hand of one she loves — by one 
who loves her." He paused a second time, arrested by his 
father's expression. At first it was that of one who is 



A NEW ERA BEGINS 85 

stunned, then it slowly changed to one of rage. For once 
the boy had broken through that wall of self-control in 
which the Elder encased himself. Slowly the Elder rose 
and leaned towering over his son across the table. 

"I tell you that is a lie !" he shouted. "Your mother 
has never rebelled. She has been an obedient, docile 
woman. It is a lie!" 

Peter Junior made no reply. He also rose, and taking 
up his crutch, turned toward the door. There he paused 
and looked back, with flashing eyes. His lip quivered, but 
he held himself quiet. 

"Come back !" shouted his father. 

"I have told you the truth, father." He still stood with 
his hand on the door. 

"Has — has — your mother ever said anything to you 
to give you reason to insult me this way ? " 

"No, never. We can't talk reasonably now. Let me 
go, and I'll try to explain some other time." 

"Explain now. There is no other time." 

"Mother is sacred to me, father. I ought not to have 
dragged her into this discussion." 

The Elder's lips trembled. He turned and walked to the 
window and stood a moment, silently looking out. At last 
he said in a low voice : "She is sacred to me also, my son." 

Peter Junior went back to his seat, and waited a while, 
with his head in his hands ; then he lifted his eyes to his 
father's face. "I can't help it. Now I've begun, I might 
as well tell the truth. I meant what I said when I spoke of 
the different element in me, and that it is from my mother. 
You gave me that mother. I know you love her, and you 
know that your will is her law, as you feel that it ought to 




86 THE EYE OF DREAD 

be. But when I am with her, I feel something of a nature 
in her that is not yours. And why not ? Why not, father ? 
There is that of her in me that makes me know this, and 
that of you in me that makes me understand you. Even 
now, though you are not willing to give me my own way, 
it makes me understand that you are insisting on your 
way because you think it is for my good. But nothing 
can alter the fact that I have inherited from my mother 
tastes that are not yours, and that entitle me to my man- 
hood's right of choice. ,, 

"Well, what is your choice, now that you know my 
wish?" 

"I can't tell you yet, father. I must have more time. 
I only know what I think I would like to do." 

"You wish to talk it over with your mother ?" 

"Yes." 

"She will agree with me." 

"Yes, no doubt ; but it's only fair to tell her and ask her 
advice, especially if I decide to leave home." 

The Elder caught his breath inwardly, but said no more. 
He recognized in the boy enough of himself to know that 
he had met in him a power of resistance equal to his own. 
He also knew what Peter Junior did not know, that his 
grandfather's removal to this country was an act of rebel- 
lion against the wishes of his father. It was a matter of 
family history he had thought best not to divulge. 



CHAPTER VIII 

mary ballard's discovery 

Peter Junior's mind was quite made up to go his own 
way and leave home to study abroad, but first he would 
try to convert his father to his way of thinking. Then 
there was another thing to be done. Not to marry, of 
course; that, under present conditions, would never do; 
but to make sure of Betty, lest some one come and steal 
into her heart before his return. 

After his talk with his father in the bank he lay long 
into the night, gazing at the shadowed tracery on his wall 
cast by the full harvest moon shining through the maple 
branches outside his window. The leaves had not all fallen, 
and in the light breeze they danced and quivered, and the 
branches swayed, and the shadows also swayed and danced 
delicately over the soft gray wall paper and the red-coated 
old soldier standing stiffly in his gold frame. Often in his 
waking dreams in after life he saw the moving shadows 
silently swaying and dancing over gray and red and gold, 
and often he tried to call them out from the past to banish 
things he would forget. 

Long this night he lay planning and thinking. Should 
he speak to Betty and tell her he loved her? Should he 
only teach her to think of him, not with the frank liking of 
her girlhood, so well expressed to him that very day, but 
with the warm feeling which would cause her cheeks to 

87 



88 THE EYE OF DREAD 

redden when he spoke ? Could he be sure of himself — 
to do this discreetly, or would he overstep the mark ? He 
would wait and see what the next day would bring forth. 

In the morning he discarded his crutch, as he had threat- 
ened, and walked out to the studio, using only a stout old 
blackthorn stick he had found one day when rummaging 
among a collection of odds and ends in the attic. He 
thought the stick was his father's and wondered why so 
interesting a walking stick — or staff ; it could hardly be 
called a cane, he thought, because it was so large and oddly 
shaped — should be hidden away there. Had his father 
seen it he would have recognized it instantly as one that 
had belonged to his brother-in-law, Larry Kildene, and it 
would have been cut up and used for lighting fires. But 
it had been many years since the Elder had laid eyes on that 
knobbed and sturdy stick, which Larry had treasured as 
a rare thing in the new world, and a fine antique specimen 
of a genuine blackthorn. It had belonged to his great- 
grandfather in Ireland, and no doubt had done its part in 
cracking crowns. 

Betty, kneading bread at a table before the kitchen win- 
dow, spied Peter Junior limping wearily up the walk with- 
out his crutch, and ran to him, dusting the flour from her 
hands as she came. 

"Lean on me. I won't get flour on your coat. What 
did you go without your crutch for ? It's very silly of you." 

He essayed a laugh, but it was a self-conscious one. 
"I'm not going to use a crutch all my lifetime ; don't you 
think it. I'm very well off without, and almost myself 
again. I don't need to lean on you — but I will — just for 
fun." He put his arm about her and drew her to him. 



MARY BALLARD'S DISCOVERY 89 

"Stop, Peter Junior. Don't you see you're getting flour 
all over your clothes ?" 

"I like flour on my clothes. It will do for stiffening." 
He raised her hand and kissed her wrist where there was no 
flour. 

"You're not leaning on me. You're just acting silly, 
and you can hardly walk, you're so tired ! Coming all this 
way without your crutch. I think you're foolish." 

"If you say anything more about that crutch, I'll throw 
away my cane too." He dropped down on the piazza and 
drew her to the step beside him. 

"I must finish kneading the bread; I can't sit here. 
You rest in the rocker awhile before you go up to the studio. 
Father's up there. He came home late last night after we 
were all in bed." She returned to her work, and after a 
moment called to him through the open window. " There's 
going to be a nutting party to-morrow, and we want you 
to go. We're going out to Carter's grove ; we've got per- 
mission. Every one's going." 

Peter Junior rubbed the moisture from his hair and shook 
his head. He must get nearer her, but it was always the 
same thing; just a happy game, with no touch of senti- 
ment — no more, he thought gloomily, than if she were his 
sister. 

"What are you all going there for ?" 

"Why, nuts, goosey; didn't I say we were going 
nutting ? " 

"I don't happen to want nuts." No, he wanted her to 
urge and coax him to go for her sake, but what could he say ? 

He left his seat, took the side path around to the kitchen 
door, and drew up a chair to the end of the table where she 



90 THE EYE OF DREAD 

deftly manipulated the sweet-smelling dough, patting it, 
and pulling it, and turning it about until she was ready to 
put the shapely balls in the pans, holding them in her two 
firm little hands with a slight rolling motion as she slipped 
each loaf in its place. It had never occurred to Peter Junior 
that bread making was such an interesting process. 

" Why do you fuss with it so ? Why don't you just dump 
it in the pan any old way ? That's the way I'd do." But 
he loved to watch her pink-tipped fingers carefully shaping 
the loaves, nevertheless. 

"Oh — because." 

"Good reason." 

"Well — the more you work it the better it is, just like 
everything else ; and then — if you don't make good-look- 
ing loaves, you'll never have a handsome husband. Mother 
says so." She tossed a stray lock from her eyes, and 
opening the oven door thrust in her arm. "My, but 
it's hot ! Why do you sit here in the heat ? It's a lot 
nicer on the porch in the rocker. Mother's gone to town 
— and—" 

"I'd rather sit here with you — thank you." He spoke 
stiffly and waited. What could he say ; what could he do 
next ? She left him a moment and quickly returned with a 
cup of butter. 

"You know — I'd stop and go out in the cool with you, 
Peter, but I must work this dough I have left into raised 
biscuit ; and then I have to make a cake for to-morrow — 
and cookies — there's something to do in this house, I 
tell you ! How about to-morrow ? " 

"I don't believe I'd better go. All the rest of the world 
will be there, and — " 



MARY BALLARD'S DISCOVERY 91 

"Only our little crowd. When I said everybody, you 
didn't think I meant everybody in the whole world, did you ? 
You know us all." 

" Do you want me to go ? There'll be enough others — " 

She tossed her head and gave him a sidelong glance. 
"I always ask people to go when I don't want them to." 

He rose at that and stood close to her side, and, stooping, 
looked in her eyes ; and for the first time the color flamed 
up in her face because of him. "I say — do you want me 
to go?" 

"No, I don't." 

But the red he had brought into her cheeks intoxicated 
him with delight. Now he knew a thing to do. He seized 
her wrists and turned her away from the table and con- 
tinued \p look into her eyes. She twisted about, looking 
away from him, but the burning blush made even the little 
ear she turned toward him pink, and he loved it. His 
discretion was all gone. He loved her, and he would tell 
her now — now ! She must hear it, and slipping his arm 
around her, he drew her away and out to the seat under 
the old silver-leaf poplar tree. 

"You're acting silly, Peter Junior, — and my bread will 
all spoil and get too light, — and my hands are all covered 
with flour, and — " 

"And you'll sit right here while I talk to you a bit, if 
the bread spoils and gets too light and everything burns to 
a cinder." She started to run away from him, and his 
peremptory tone changed to pleading. "Please, Betty, 
dear ! just hear me this far. I'm going away, Betty, and 
I love you. No, sit close and be my sweetheart. Dear, 
it isn't the old thing. It's love, and it's what I want you 



<92 THE EYE OF DREAD 

to feel for me. I woke up yesterday, and found I loved 
you." He held her closer and lifted her face to his. " You 
must wake up, too, Betty; we can't play always. Say 
you'll love me and be my wife — some day — won't you, 
Betty?" 

She drooped in his arms, hanging her head and looking 
down on her floury hands. 

"Say it, Betty dear, won't you?" 

Her lip quivered. "I don't want to be anybody's wife 
— and, anyway — I liked you better the other way." 

" Why, Betty ? Tell me why." 

"Because — lots of reasons. I must help mother — 
and I'm only seventeen, and — " 

"Most eighteen, I know, because — " 

"Well, anyway, mother says no girl of hers shall marry 
before she's of age, and she says that means twenty-one, 
and—" 

"That's all right. I can wait. Kiss me, Betty." But 
she was silent, with face turned from him. Again he lifted 
her face to his. "I say, kiss me, Betty. Just one ? That 
was a stingy little kiss. You know I'm going away, and 
that is why I spoke to you now. I didn't dare go without 
telling you this first. You're so sweet, Betty, some one 
might find you out and love you — just as I have — only 
not so deeply in love with you — no one could — but some 
one might come and win you away from me, and so I must 
make sure that you will marry me when you are of age and 
I come back for you. Promise me." 

"Where? — why — Peter Junior! Where are you going? " 
Betty removed his arm from around her waist and slipped 
to her own end of the seat. There, with hands folded de- 



MARY BALLARD'S DISCOVERY 93 

corously in her lap, with heightened color and serious eyes, 
she looked shyly up at him. He had never seen her shy 
before. Always she had befen merry and teasing, and his 
heart was proud that he had wrought such a miracle in her. 

"I am going to Paris. I mean to be an artist." He 
leaned toward her and would have taken her in his arms 
again, but she put his hands away. 

"Will your father let you do that?" Her eyes widened 
with surprise, and the surprise nettled him. 

"I don't know. He's thinking about it. Anyway, a 
man must decide for himself what his career will be, and if 
he won't let me, I'll earn the money and go without his 
letting me." 

"Wouldn't that be the best way, anyway?" 

"What do you mean ? To go without his consent ?" 

"Of course not — goosey." She laughed and was her- 
self again, but he liked her better the other way. "To earn 
the money and then go. It — it — would be more — 
more as if you were in earnest." 

" My sold ! Do you think I'm not in earnest ? Do you 
think I'm not in love with you ? " 

Instantly she was serious and shy again. His heart 
leaped. He loved to feel his power over her thus. Still 
she tantalized him. "I'm not meaning about loving me. 
That's not the question. I mean it would look more as if 
you were in earnest about becoming an artist." 

"No. The real question is, Do you love me ? Will you 
marry me when I come back?" She was silent and he 
came nearer. "Say it. Say it. I must hear you say it 
before I leave." Her lips trembled as if she were trying to 
form the words, and their eyes met. 




94 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Yes — if — if— " 

Then he caught her to him, and stopped her mouth with 
kisses. He did not know himself. He was a man he had 
never met the like of, and he gloried in himself. It seemed 
as if he heard bells ringing out in joy. Then he looked up 
and saw Mary Ballard's eyes fixed on him. 

"Peter Junior — what are you doing?" Her voice 
shook. 

"I — I'm kissing Betty." 

"I see that." 

"We are to be married some day — and — " 

"You are precipitate, Peter Junior." 

Then Betty did what every woman does when her lover 
is blamed, no matter how earnestly she may have resisted 
him before. She went completely over to his side and took 
his part. 

"He's going away, mother. He's going away to be gone 

— perhaps for years ; and I've — I've told him yes, mother, 

— so it isn't his fault." Then she turned and fled to her 
own room, and hid her flaming face in the pillow and wept. 

"Sit here with me awhile, Peter Junior, and we'll talk it 
all over," said Mary. 

He obeyed her, and looking squarely in her eyes, manfully 
told her his plans, and tried to make her feel as he felt, 
that no love like his had ever filled a man's heart be- 
fore. At last she sent him up to the studio to tell her 
husband, and she went in and finished Betty's task, put- 
ting the bread — alas ! too light by this time — in the 
oven, and shaping the raised biscuit which Betty had left 
half finished. 

Then she paused a moment to look out of the window 



MARY BALLARD'S DISCOVERY 95 

down the path where the boys and little Janey would soon 
come tumbling home from school, hot and hungry. A tear 
slowly coursed down her cheek, and, following the curves, 
trembled on the tip of her chin. She brushed it away im- 
patiently. Of course it had to come — that was what life 
must bring — but ah ! not so soon — not so soon. Then 
she set about preparations for dinner without Betty's 
help. That, too, was what it would mean — sometime — 
to go on doing things without Betty. She gave a little sigh, 
and at the instant an arm was slipped about her waist, and 
she turned to look in Bertrand's eyes. 

"Is it all right, Mary?" 

"Why — yes — that is — if they'll always love each other 
as we have. I think it ought not to be too definite an en- 
gagement, though, until his plans are more settled. What 
do you think ? " 

" You are right, no doubt. I'll speak to him about that." 
Then he kissed her warm, flushed cheek. "I declare, it 
makes me feel as Peter Junior feels again, to have this 
happen." 

"Ah, Bertrand ! You never grew up — thank the 
Lord!" Then Mary laughed. After all, they had been 
happy, and why not Betty and Peter ? Surely the young 
had their rights. 

Bertrand climbed back to the studio where Peter Junior 
was pacing restlessly back and forth, and again they talked 
it all over, until the call came for dinner, when Peter was 
urged to stay, but would not. No, he would not see Betty 
again until he could have her quite to himself. So he limped 
away, feeling as if he were walking on air in spite of his 
halting gait, and Betty from her window watched him pass 



96 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



down the path and off along the grassy roadside. Then she 
went down to dinner, flushed and grave, but with shining 
eyes. Her father kissed her, but nothing was said, and the 
children thought nothing of it, for it was quite natural in 
the family to kiss Betty. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE BANKER'S POINT OF VIEW 

There was no picnic and nutting party the next day, 
owing to a downpour of rain. Betty had time to think 
quietly over what had happened the day before and her 
mind misgave her. What was it that so filled her heart and 
mind ? That so stirred her imagination ? Was it romance 
or love ? She wished she knew how other girls felt who had 
lovers. Was it easy or hard for them to say yes ? Should 
a girl let her lover kiss her the way Peter Junior had done ? 
Some of the questions which perplexed her she would have 
liked to ask her mother, but in spite of their charming in- 
timacy die could not bring herself to speak of them. She 
wished she had a friend with a lover, and could talk it all 
over with her, but although she had girl friends, none of 
them had lovers, and to have one herself made her feel 
much older than any of them. 

So Betty thought matters out for herself. Of course she 
liked Peter Junior — she had always liked him — and he 
was masterful — and she had always known she would 
marry a soldier — and one who had been wounded and been 
brave — that was the kind of a soldier to love. But she 
was more subdued than usual and sewed steadily on ging- 
ham aprons for Janey, making the buttonholes and binding 
them about the neck with contrasting stuff. 

"Anyway, I'm glad there is no picnic to-day. The boy^_ 



98 THE EYE OF DREAD 

may eat up the cookies, and I didn't get the cake made after 
all/' she said to her mother, as she lingered a moment in 
the kitchen and looked out of the window at the pouring 
rain. But she did not see the rain ; she saw again a gray- 
clad youth limping down the path between the lilacs and 
away along the grassy roadside. 

Well, what if she had said yes ? It was all as it should 
be, according to her dreams, only — only — he had not 
allowed her to say what she had meant to say. She wished 
her mother had not happened to come just then before she 
could explain to Peter Junior; that it was "yes" only if 
when he came back he still wanted her and still loved her, 
and was sure he had not made a mistake about it. It was 
often so in books. Men went away, and when they re- 
turned, they found they no longer loved their sweethearts. 
If such a terrible thing should happen to her ! Oh, dear ! 
Or maybe he would be too honorable to say he no longer 
loved her, and would marry her in spite of it ; and she would 
find out afterward, when it was too late, that he loved some 
one else ; that would be very terrible, and they would be 
miserable all their lives. 

"I don't think I would let the boys eat up the cookies, 
dear ; it may clear off by sundown, and be fine to-morrow, 
and they'll be all as glad as to go to-day. You make your 
cake." 

"But Martha's coming home to-morrow night, and I'd 
rather wait now until Saturday ; that will be only one day 
longer, and it will be more fun with her along." Betty 
spoke brightly and tried to make herself feel that no momen- 
tous thing had happened. She hated the constraint of it 
"By that time Peter Junior will think that he can go, too. 



THE BANKER'S POINT OF VIEW 99 

He's so funny !" She laughed self-consciously, and carried 
the gingham aprons back to her room. 

"Bless her dear little heart." Mary Ballard understood. 

Peter Junior also profited by the rainy morning. He had 
a long hour alone with his mother to tell her of his wish to 
go to Paris ; and her way of receiving his news was a sur- 
prise to him. He had thought it would be a struggle and 
that he would have to argue with her, setting forth his hopes 
and plans, bringing her slowly to think with quiescence of 
their long separation : but no. She rose and began to pace 
the floor, and her eyes grew bright with eagerness. 

" Oh, Peter, Peter ! " She came and placed her two hands 
on his shoulders and gazed into his eyes. "Peter Junior, 
you are a boy after my own heart. You are going to be 
something worth while. I always knew you would. It is 
Bertrand Ballard who has waked you up, who has taught 
you to see that there is much outside of Leauvite for a man 
to do. I'm not objecting to those who live here and have 
found their work here; it is only that you are different. 
Go ! Go ! — It is — has your father — have you asked 
his consent?" 

"Oh, yes." 

"Has he given it?" 

"I think he is considering it seriously." 

"Peter Junior, I hope you won't go without it — as 
you went once, without mine." Never before had she 
mentioned it to him, or recalled to his mind that terrible 
parting. 

"Why not, mother ? It would be as fair to him now as 
it was then to you. It would be fairer ; for this is a ques- 
tion of progress, and then it was a matter of life and death." 



SUteSfc 



ioo THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Ah, that was different, I admit. But I never could 
retaliate, or seem to, even in the smallest thing. I don't 
want him to suffer as I suffered." 

It was almost a cry for pity, and Peter Junior wondered 
in his heart at the depth of anguish she must have endured 
in those days, when he had thrust the thought of her op- 
position to one side as merely an obstacle overcome, and 
had felt the triumph of winning out in the contest, as one 
step toward independent manhood. Now, indeed, their 
viewpoints had changed. He felt almost a sense of pique 
that she had yielded so joyously and so suddenly, although 
confronted with the prospect of a long separation from him. 
Did she love him less than in the past? Had his former 
disregard of her wishes lessened even a trifle her mother 
love for him ? 

"I'm glad you can take the thought of my going as you 
do, mother." He spoke coldly, as an only son may, but he 
was to be excused. He was less spoiled than most only sons. 

"In what way, my son ?" 

"Why — in being glad to have me go — instead of feeling 
as you did then." 

"Glad? Glad to have you go? It isn't that, dear. 
Understand me. I'm sorry I spoke of that old time. It 
was only to spare your father. You see we look at things 
differently. He loves to have us follow out his plans. It 
is almost — death to him to have to give up ; and with 
me — it was not then as it is now. I don't like to think or 
speak of that time." 

"Don't, mother, don't !" cried Peter, contritely. 

"But I must to make you see this as you should. It was 
love for you then that made me cling to you, and want to 



THE BANKER'S POINT OF VIEW 101 

hold you back from going ; just the same it is love for you 
now that makes me want you to go out and find your right 
place in the world. I was letting you go then to be shot 
at — to suffer fatigue, and cold, and imprisonment, who 
could know, perhaps to be cruelly killed — and I did not 
believe in war. I suppose your father was the nobler in 
his way of thinking, but I could not see it his way. Angels 
from heaven couldn't have made me believe it right ; but it's 
over. Now I know your life will be made broader by going, 
and you'll have scope, at least, to know what you really 
wish to do with yourself and what you are worth, as you 
would not have, to sit down in your father's bank, although 
you would be safer there, no doubt. But you went through 
all the temptations of the army safely, and I have no fear 
for you now, dear, no fear." 

Peter Junior's heart melted. He took his mother in his 
arms and stroked her beautiful white hair. "I love you, 
mother, dear," was all he could say. Should he tell her of 
Betty now ? The question died in his heart. It was too 
much. He would be all hers for a little, nor intrude the 
new love that she might think divided his heart. He 
returned to the question of his father's consent. "Mother, 
what shall I do if he will not give it ?" 

"Wait. Try to be patient and do what he wishes. It 
may help him to yield in the end." 

"Never! I know Dad better than that. He will only 
think all the more that he is in the right, and that I have 
come to my senses. He never takes any viewpoint but 
his own." His mother was silent. Never would she open 
her lips against her husband. "I say, mother, naturally 
I would rather go with his consent, but if he won't give it 



102 THE EYE OF DREAD 

— How long must a man be obedient just for the sake of 
obedience ? Does such bondage never end ? Am I not of 
age?" 

"I will speak to him. Wait and see. Talk it over with 
him again to-day after banking hours." 

"I — I — have something I must — must do to-day." 
He was thinking he would go out to the Ballards' in spite 
of the rain. 

The dinner hour passed without constraint. In these 
days Peter Junior would not allow the long silences to occur 
that used often to cast a gloom over the meals in his boy- 
hood. He knew that in this way his mother would sadly 
miss him. It was the Elder's way to keep his thoughts for 
the most part to himself, and especially when there was an 
issue of importance before him. It was supposed that his 
wife could not take an interest in matters of business, or in 
things of interest to men, so silence was the rule when they 
were alone. 

This time Peter Junior mentioned the topic of the wonder- 
ful new railroad that was being pushed across the plains 
and through the unexplored desert to the Pacific. 

"The mere thought of it is inspiring," said Hester. 

"How so?" queried the Elder, with a lift of his brows. 
He deprecated any thought connecting sentiment with 
achievement. Sentiment was of the heart and only hin- 
dered achievement, which was purely of the brain. 

"It's just the wonder of it. Think of the two great 
oceans being brought so near together ! Only two weeks 
apart ! Don't they estimate that the time to cross will be 
only two weeks?" 
' "Yes, mother, and we have those splendid old pioneers 



THE BANKER'S POINT OF VIEW 103 

who made the first trail across the desert to thank for its 
being possible. It isn't the capitalists who have done this. 
It's the ones who had faith in themselves and dared the 
dangers and the hardships. They are the ones I honor." 

"They never went for love of humanity. It was mere 
love of wandering and migratory instinct," said his father, 
grimly. 

Peter Junior laughed merrily. "What did old grand- 
father Craigmile pull up and come over to this country for ? 
They had to cross in sailing vessels then and take weeks for 
the journey." 

"Progress, my son, progress. Your grandfather had the 
idea of establishing his family in honorable business over 
here, and he did it." 

"Well, I say these people who have been crossing the 
plains and crawling over the desert behind ox teams in 
'prairie schooners' for the last twenty or thirty years, 
braving all the dangers of the unknown, have really paved 
the way for progress and civilization. The railroad is 
being laid along the trail they made. Do you know 
Richard's out there at the end of the line — nearly ? " 

"He would be likely to be. Roving boy! What's 
he doing there ? " 

"Poor boy! He almost died in that terrible southern 
prison. He was the mere shadow of himself when he came 
home," said Hester. 

"The young men of the present day have little use for 
beaten paths and safe ways. I offered him a position in 
the bank, but no — he must go to Scotland first to make 
the acquaintance of our aunts. If he had been satisfied 
with that! But no, again, he must go to Ireland on a 



104 THE EYE OF DREAD 

fool's errand to learn something of his father." The Elder 
paused and bit his lip, and a vein stood out on his forehead. 
"He's never seen fit to write me of late." 

" Of course such a big scheme as this road across the plains 
would appeal to a man like Richard. He's doing very well, 
father. I wouldn't be disturbed about him." 

" Humph ! I might as well be disturbed about the course 
of the Wisconsin River. I might as well worry over the 
rush of a cataract. The lad has no stability." 

"He never fails to write to me, and I must say that he 
was considered the most dependable man in the regiment." 

"What is he doing ? I should like to see the boy again." 
Hester looked across at her son with a warm, loving light 
in her eyes. 

"I don't know exactly, but it's something worth while, 
and calls for lots of energy. He says they are striking out 
into the dust and alkali now — right into the desert." 

"And doesn't he say a word about when he is coming 
back?" 

" Not a word, mother. He really has no home, you know. 
He says Scotland has no opening for him, and he has no one 
to depend on but himself." 

"He has relatives who are fairly well to do in Ireland." 

The Elder frowned. "So I've heard, and my aunts in 
Scotland talked of making him their heir, when I was last 
there." 

"He knows that, father, but he says he's not one to 
stand round waiting for two old women to die. He says 
they're fine, decorous old ladies, too, who made a lot of him. 
I warrant they'd hold up their hands in horror if they knew 
what a rough life he's leading now." 



THE BANKER'S POINT OF VIEW 105 

"How rough, my son ? I wish he'd make up his mind to 
come home." 

"There ! I told him this is his home ; just as much as it 
is mine. I'll write him you said that, mother." 

" Indeed, yes. Bless the boy ! " 

The Elder looked at his wife and lifted his brows, a sign 
that it was time the meal should close, and she rose in- 
stantly. It was her habit never to rise until the Elder 
gave the sign. Peter Junior walked down the length of the 
hall at his father's side. 

"What Richard really wished to do was what I mentioned 
to you yesterday for myself. He Wanted to go to Paris 
and study, but after visiting his great-aunts he saw that it 
would be too much. He would not allow them to take 
from their small income to help him through, so he gave 
it up for the time being ; but if he keeps on as he is, it is 
my opinion he may go yet. He's making good money. 
Then we could be there together." 

The Elder made no reply, but stooped and drew on his 
india-rubber overshoes, — stamping into them, — and then 
got himself into his raincoat with sundry liftings and 
hunchings of his shoulders. Peter Junior stood by waiting, 
if haply some sort of sign might be given that his remark 
had been heeded, but his father only carefully adjusted his 
hat and walked away in the rain, setting his feet down 
stubbornly at each step, and holding his umbrella as if it 
were a banner of righteousness. The younger man's face 
flushed, and he turned from the door angrily; then he 
looked to see his mother's eyes fixed on him sadly. 

"At least he might treat me with common decency. He 
need not be rude, even if I am his son." He thought he 



106 THE EYE OF DREAD 

detected accusation of himself in his mother's gaze and 
resented it. 

"Be patient, dear." 

"Oh, mother! Patient, patient! What have you got 
by being patient all these years?" 

"Peace of mind, my son." 

"Mother—" 

"Try to take your father's view of this matter. Have 
you any idea how hard he has worked all his life, and always 
with the thought of you and your advancement, and wel- 
fare? Why, Peter Junior, he is bound up in you. He 
expected you would one day stand at his side, his mainstay 
and help and comfort in his business." 

"Then it wasn't for me; it was for himself that he has 
worked and built up the bank. It's his bank, and his wife, 
and his son, and his 'Tower of Babel that he has builded,' 
and now he wants me to bury myself in it and worship at 
his idolatry." 

"Hush, Peter. I don't like to rebuke you, but I must. 
You can twist facts about and see them in a wrong light, but 
the truth remains that he has loved you tenderly — al- 
ways. I know his heart better than you — better than he. 
It is only that he thinks the line he has taken a lifetime to 
lay out for you is the best. He is as sure of it as that the 
days follow each other. He sees only futility in the way 
you would go. I have no doubt his heart is sore over it 
at this moment, and that he is grieving in a way that would 
shock you, could you comprehend it." 

"Enough said, mother, enough said. I'll try to be fair." 

He went to his room and stood looking out at the rain- 
washed earth and the falling leaves. The sky was heavy 



THE BANKER'S POINT OF VIEW 107 

and drab. He thought of Betty and her picnic and of how, 
gay and sweet she was, and how altogether desirable, and 
the thought wrought a change in his spirit. He went down- 
stairs and kissed his mother ; then he, too, put on his rubber 
overshoes and shook himself into his raincoat and care- 
fully adjusted his hat and his umbrella. Then with the 
assistance of the old blackthorn stick he walked away in the 
rain, limping, it is true, but nevertheless a younger, sturdier 
edition of the man who had passed out before him. 

He found Betty alone as he had hoped, for Mary Ballard 
had gone to drive her husband to the station. Bertrand 
was thinking of opening a studio in the city, at his wife's 
earnest solicitation, for she thought him buried there in 
their village. As for the children — they were still in 
school. 

Thus it came about that Peter Junior spent the rest of 
that day with Betty in her father's studio. He told Betty 
all his plans. He made love to her and cajoled her, and 
was happy indeed. He had a winsome way, and he made 
her say she loved him — more than once or twice — 
and his heart was satisfied. 

"We'll be married just as soon as I return from Paris, 
and you'll not miss me so much until then ? " 

"Oh, no." 

"Ah — but — but I hope you will — you know." 

"Of course I shall ! What would you suppose ?" 

"But you said no." 

" Naturally ! Didn't you wish me to say that ?" 

"I wanted you to tell the truth." 

"Well, I did." 

"There it is again ! I'm afraid you don't really love me." 



108 THE EYE OF DREAD 

She tilted her head on one side and looked at him a 
moment. "Would you like me to say I don't want you to 
go to Paris ? " 

"Not that, exactly; but all the time I'm gone I shall be 
longing for you." 

"I should hope so! It would be pretty bad if you 
didn't." 

" Now you see what I mean about you. I want you to 
be longing for me all the time, until I return." 

"All right. I'll cry my eyes out, and I'll keep writing 
for you to come home." 

" Oh, come now ! Tell me what you will do all the time." 

"Oh, lots of things. I'll paint pictures, too, and — I'll 
write — and help mother just as I do now ; and I'll study 
art without going to Paris." 

"Will you, you rogue ! I'd marry you first and take you 
with me if it were possible, and you should study in Paris, 
too — that is, if you wished to." 

"Wouldn't it be wonderful! But I don't know — I 
believe I'd rather write than paint." 

"I believe I'd rather have you. They say there are no 
really great women artists. It isn't in the woman's nature. 
They haven't the strength. Oh, they have the delicacy and 
all that ; it's something else they lack." 

"Humph! It's rather nice to have us lacking in one 
thing and another, isn't it? It gives you men something 
to do to discover and fill in the lacks." 

"I know one little lady who lacks in nothing but years." 

Betty looked out of the window and down into the yard. 
"There is mother driving in. Let's go down and have 
cookies and milk. I'm sure you need cookies and milk." 



THE BANKER'S POINT OF VIEW 



109 



«T> 



I'll need anything you say." 
"Very well, then, you'll need patience if ever you marry 



me. 



>> 



"I know that well enough. Stop a moment. Kiss me 
before we go down." He caught her in his arms, but she 
slipped away. 

"No, I won't. You've had enough kisses. I'll always 
give you one when you come, hereafter, and one when you go 
away, but no more." 

"Then I shall come very often." He laughed and 
leaned upon her instead of using his stick, as they slowly 
descended. 

Mary Ballard was chilled after her long drive in the rain, 
and Betty made her tea. Then, after a pleasant hour of 
chat and encouragement from the two sweet women, Peter 
Junior left them, promising to go to the picnic and nutting 
party on Saturday. It would surely be pleasant, for the 
sky was already clearing. Yes, truly a glad heart brings 
pleasant prognostications. 



CHAPTER X 

THE NUTTING PARTY 

Peter Junior made no attempt the next day to speak 
further to his father about his plans. It seemed to him 
better that he should wait until his wise mother had talked 
the matter over with the Elder. Although he put in most 
of the day at the studio, painting, he saw very little of 
Betty and thought she was avoiding him out of girlish 
coquetry, but she was only very busy. Martha was coming 
home and everything must be as clean as wax. Martha was 
such a tidy housekeeper that she would see the least lack 
and set to work to remedy it, and that Betty could not abide. 
In these days Martha's coming marked a semimonthly 
event in the home, for since completing her course at the 
high school she had been teaching in the city. Bertrand 
would return with her, and then all would have to be talked 
over, — just what he had decided to do, and why. 

In the evening a surprise awaited the whole household, 
for Martha came, accompanied not only by her father, 
but also by a young professor in the same school where she 
taught. Mary Ballard greeted him most kindly, but she 
felt things were happening too rapidly in her family. 
Jamie and Bobby watched the young man covertly yet 
eagerly, taking note of his every movement and intonation. 
Was he one to be emulated or avoided ? Only little Janey 
was quite unabashed by him, and this lightened his em- 
no 



THE NUTTING PARTY in 

barrassment greatly and helped him to the ease of manner 
he strove to establish. 

She led him out to the sweet-apple tree, and introduced 
him to the calf and the bantams, and invited him to go 
with them nutting the next day. " We're all going in 
a great, big picnic wagon. Everybody's going and we'll 
have just lots of fun . ' ' And he accepted, provided she would 
sit beside him all the way. 

Bobby decided at this point that he also would befriend 
the young man. "If you're going to sit beside her all the 
way, you'll have to be lively. She never sits in one place 
more than two minutes. You'll have to sit on papa's 
other knee for a while, and then you'll have to sit on Peter 
Junior's. 

"That will be interesting, anyway. Who's Peter Jun- 
ior?" 

"Oh, he's a man. He comes to see us a lot." 

"He's the son of Elder Craigmile," explained Martha. 

"Is he going, too, Betty?" 

"Yes. The whole crowd are going. It will be fun. 
I'm glad now it rained Thursday, for the Deans didn't 
want to postpone it till to-morrow, and then, when it 
rained, Mrs. Dean said it would be too wet to try to have 
it yesterday ; and now we have you. I wanted all the time 
to wait until you came home." 

That night, when Martha went to their room, Betty 
followed her, and after closing the door tightly she threw 
her arms around her sister's neck. 

"Oh, Martha, Martha, dear! Tell me all about him. 
Why didn't you let us know ? I came near having on my 
old blue gingham. What if I had? He's awfully nice 



ii2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

looking. Is he in love with you? Tell me all about it* 
Does he make love to you ? Oh, Martha ! It's so roman- 
tic for you to have a lover !" 

"Hush, Betty, some one will hear you. Of course he 
doesn't make love to me !" 

"Why?" 

"I wouldn't let him." 

"Martha ! Why not? Do you think it's bad to let a 
young man make love to you ?" 

" Betty ! You mustn't talk so loud. Everything sounds 
so through this house. It would mortify me to death." 

"What would mortify you to death : to have him make 
love to you or to have someone hear me?" 

"Betty, dear!" 

"Well, tell me all about him — please! Why did he 
come out with you ? " 

"You shouldn't always be thinking about love-making 
— and — such things, Betty, dear. He just came out in 
the most natural way, just because he — he loves the 
country, and he was talking to me about it one day and 
said he'd like to come out some Friday with me — just 
about asked me to invite him. So when father called at 
the school yesterday for me, I introduced them, and he 
said the same thing to father, and of course father invited 
him over again, and — and — so he's here.. That's all 
there is to it." 

"I bet it isn't. How long have you known him ?" 

"Why, ever since I've been in the school, naturally." 

"What does he teach ?" 

"He has higher Latin and beginners' Greek, and then he 
has charge of the main room when the principal goes out. 



» 



THE NUTTING PARTY 113 

Betty pondered a little, sitting on the floor in front of 
her sister. "You have such a lovely way of doing your 
hair. Is that the way to do hair nowadays — with two 
long curls hanging down from one side of the coil? You 
wind one side around the back knot, and then you pin 
the other up and let the ends hang down in two long curls, 
don't you ? I'm going to try mine that way ; may I ? " 

"Of course, darling ! I'll help you." 

"What's his name, Martha? I couldn't quite catch it, 
and I did not w^nt to let him know I thought it queer, so 
wouldn't ask over." 

"His name is Lucien Thurbyfil. It's not so queer, 
Betty." 

"Oh, you pronounce it T'urbyfil, just as if there were 
no 'h' in it. You know I thought father said Mr. Tubfull 
— or something like that, when he introduced him to mother, 
and that was why mother looked at him in such an odd 
way." 

The two girls laughed merrily. "Betty, what if you 
hadn't been a dear, and had called him that ! And he's 
so very correct ! " 

"Oh, is he? Then I'll try it to-morrow and we'll see 
what he'll do." 

"Don't you dare ! I'd be so ashamed I'd sink right 
through the floor. He'd think we'd been making fun of 
him." 

"Then I'll wait until we are out in the woods, for I'd 
hate to have you make a hole in the floor by sinking through 
it." 

"Betty ! You'll be good to-morrow, won't you, dear ?" 

" Good ? Am I not always good ? Didn't I scrub and 



ii4 THE EYE OF DREAD 

bake and put flowers all over the ugly what-not in the corner 
of the parlor, and get the grease spot out of the dining room 
rug that Jamie stepped butter into — and all for you — 
without any thought of any Mr. Tubfull or any one but 
you ? All day long I've been doing it." 

"Of course you did, and it was perfectly sweet; and the 
flowers and mother looked so dear — and Janey's hands 
were clean — I looked to see. You know usually they are 
so dirty. I knew you'd been busy ; but Betty, dear, you 
won't be mischievous to-morrow, will you? He's our 
guest, you know, and you never were bashful, not as much 
as you really ought to be, and we can't treat strangers just 
as we do — well — people we have always known, like 
Peter Junior. They wouldn't understand it." 

But the admonition seemed to be lost, for Betty's 
thoughts were wandering from the point. "Hasn't he 
ever — ever — made love to you ? " Martha was washing 
her face and neck at the washstand in the corner, and now 
she turned a face very rosy, possibly with scrubbing, and 
threw water over her naughty little sister. "Well, hasn't 
he ever put his arm around you or — or anything ?" 

"I wouldn't let a man do that." 

"Not if you were engaged ?" 

"Of course not ! That wouldn't be a nice way to do." 

"Shouldn't you let a man kiss you or — or — put his 
arm around you — or anything — even when he's try- 
ing to get engaged to you ?" 

"Of course not, Betty, dear. You're asking very silly 
questions. I'm going to bed." 

"Well, but they do in books. He did in 'Jane Eyre,' 
don't you remember? And she was proud of it — and 



THE NUTTING PARTY 115 

pretended not to be — and very much touched, and treas- 
ured his every look in her heart. And in the books they 
always kiss their lovers. How can Mr. Thurbyfil ever be 
your lover, if you never let him even put his arm around 
you?" 

"Betty, Betty, come to bed. He isn't my lover and he 
doesn't want to be and we aren't in books, and you are 
getting too old to be so silly." 

Then Betty slowly disrobed and bathed her sweet limbs 
and at last crept in beside her sister. Surely she had not 
done right. She had let Peter Junior put his arm around 
her and kiss her, and that even before they were engaged ; 
and all yesterday afternoon he had held her hand whenever 
she came near, and he had followed her about and had kissed 
her a great many times. Her cheeks burned with shame in 
the darkness, not that she had allowed this, but that she 
had not been as bashful as she ought. But how could she 
be bashful without pretending ? 

"Martha," she said at last, "you are so sweet and pretty, 
if I were Mr. Thurbyfil, I'd put my arm around you any- 
way, and make love to you." 

Then Martha drew Betty close and gave her a sleepy 
kiss. "No you wouldn't, dear," she murmured, and soon 
the two were peacefully sleeping, Betty's troubles quite 
forgotten. Still, when morning came, she did not confide 
to her sister anything about Peter Junior, and she even 
whispered to her mother not to mention a word of the affair 
to any one. 

At breakfast Jamie and Bobby were turbulent with de- 
light. All outings were a joy to them, no matter how often 
they came. Martha was neat and rosy and gay. Lucien 



n6 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Thurbyfil wanted to help her by wiping the dishes, but she 
sent him out to the sweet-apple tree with a basket, enjoining 
him to bring only the mellow ones. " Be sure to get enough. 
We're all going, father and mother and all." 

" It's very nice of your people to make room for me on the 
wagon." 

"And it's nice of you to go." 

" I see Peter Junior. He's coming," shouted Bobby, from 
the top of the sweet-apple tree. 

"Who does he go with ?" asked Martha. 

"With us. He always does," said Betty. "I wonder 
why his mother and the Elder never go out for any fun, the 
way you and father do ! " 

"The Elder always has to be at the bank, I suppose," 
said Mary Ballard, "and she wouldn't go without him. 
Did you put in the salt and pepper for the eggs, dear ?" 

"Yes, mother. I'm glad father isn't a banker." 

"It takes a man of more ability than I to be a banker," 
said Bertrand, laughing, albeit with concealed pride. 

" We don't care if it does, Dad," said Jamie, patronizingly. 
"When I get through the high school, I'm going to hire out 
to the bank." He seized the lunch basket and marched 
manfully out to the wagon. 

"I thought Peter Junior always went with Clara Dean. 
He did when I left," said Martha, in a low voice to Betty, 
as they filled bottles with raspberry shrub, and with cream 
for the coffee. "Did you tie strings on the spoons, dear? 
They'll get mixed with the Walters' if you don't. You 
remember theirs are just like ours." 

"Oh, I forgot. Why, he likes Clara a lot, of course, but 
I guess they just naturally expected him to go with us. 






THE NUTTING PARTY 117 

They and the Walters have a wagon together, anyway, and 
they wouldn't have room. We have one all to ourselves. 
Hello, Peter Junior ! Mr. Thurbyfil, this is Mr. Junior." 

"Happy to meet you, Mr. Junior," said the correct Mr. 
Thurbyfil. The boys laughed uproariously, and the rest 
all smiled, except Betty, who was grave and really seemed 
somewhat embarrassed. 

"What is it?" she asked. 

Mr. Thurbyfil, this is Mr. Craigmile," said Martha. 
You introduced him as Mr. Junior, Betty." 

"I didn't ! Well, that's because I'm bashful. Come on, 
everybody, mother's in." So they all climbed into the 
wagon and began to find their places. 

"Oh, father, have you the matches? The bottles are 
on the kitchen table," exclaimed Martha. 

"Don't get down, Mr. Ballard," said Lucien. "I'll get 
them. It would never do to forget the bottles. Now, 
where's the little girl who was to ride beside me?" and 
Janey crawled across the hay and settled herself at her new 
friend's side. "Now I think we are beautifully arranged," 
for Martha was on his other side. 

"Very well, we're off," and Bertrand gathered up the 
reins and they started. 

"There they are. There's the other wagon," shouted 
Bobby. "We ought to have a flag to wave." 

Then Lucien, the correct, startled the party by putting 
his two fingers in his mouth and whistling shrilly. 

"They have such a load I wish Clara could ride with us," 
said Betty. "Peter Junior, won't you get out and fetch 
her?" 

So they all stopped and there were greetings and intro- 



n8 THE EYE OF DREAD 

ductions and much laughing and joking, and Peter Junior 
obediently helped Clara Dean down and into the Ballards' 
wagon. 

" Clara, Mr. Thurbyfil can whistle as loud as a train, 
through his fingers, he can. Do it, Mr. Thurbyfil," said 
Bobby. 

"Oh, I can do that," said Peter Junior, not to be outdone 
by the stranger, and they all tried it. Bertrand and his 
wife, settled comfortably on the high seat in front, had their 
own pleasure together and paid no heed to the noisy crew 
behind them. 

What a day ! Autumn leaves and hazy distances, soft 
breezes and sunlight, and miles of level road skirting woods 
and open fields where the pumpkins lay yellow among the 
shocks of corn, and where the fence corners were filled with 
flaming sumac, with goldenrod and purple asters adding 
their softer coloring. 

It was a good eight miles to Carter's woods, but they bor- 
dered the river where the bluffs were not so high, and it 
would be possible to build a fire on the river bank with per- 
fect safety. Bertrand had brought roasting ears from his 
patch of sweet corn, and as soon as they arrived at their 
chosen grove, he and Mary leisurely turned their attention 
to the preparing of the lunch with Mrs. Dean and Mrs. 
Walters, leaving to the young people the gathering of the 
nuts. 

Mrs. Dean, a slight, wiry woman, who acted and talked 
easily and unceasingly, spread out a fresh linen cloth and 
laid a stone on each corner to hold it down, and then 
looked into each lunch basket in turn, to acquaint herself 
with its contents. 



THE NUTTING PARTY 119 

"I see you brought cake and cookies and jam, Mrs. 
Ballard, besides all the corn and cream — you always do 
too much, and all your own work to look after, too. Well, 
I brought a lot of ham sandwiches and that brown bread 
your husband likes so much. I always feel so proud when 
Mr. Ballard praises anything I do ; he's so clever it makes 
me feel as if I were really able to do something. And 
you're so clever too. I don't know how it is some folks 
seem to have all the brains, and then there's others — good 
enough — but there ! As I tell Mr. Dean, you can't tell 
why it is. Now where are the spoons ? Every one brings 
their own, of course; yes, here are yours, Mrs. Walters. 
It's good of you to think of that sweet corn, Mr. Ballard. 
— Oh, he's gone away ; well, anyway, we're having a lot 
more than we can eat, and all so good and tempting. I 
hope Mr. Dean won't overeat himself ; he's just a boy at a 
picnic, I always have to remind him — How ?" 

"Did you bring the cups for the coffee?" It was Mrs. 
Walters who interrupted the flow of Mrs. Dean's eloquence. 
She was portly and inclined to brevity, which made her a 
good companion for Mrs. Dean. 

"I had such a time with my jell this summer, and now 
this fall my grape jell's just as bad. This is all running 
over the glasses. There, I'll set it on this paper. I do 
hate to see a clean cloth all spotted with jell, even if it is a 
picnic when people think it doesn't make any difference. 
I see Martha has a friend. Well, that's nice. I wish Clara 
cared more for company ; but, there, as I tell Mr. Dean — 
Oh, yes ! the cups. Clara, where are the cups ? Oh, she's 
gone. Well, I'm sure they're in that willow basket. I told 
Clara to pack towels around them good. I do hate to see 



120 THE EYE OF DREAD 

cups all nicked up ; yes, here they are. It's good of you to 
always tend the coffee, Mrs. Walters ; you know just how 
to make it. I tell Mr. Dean nobody ever makes coffee like 
you can at a picnic. Now, if it's ready, I think everything 
else is ; well, it soon will be with such a fire, and the corn's 
not done, anyway. Do you think the sun'll get round so as 
to shine on the table ? I see it's creeping this way pretty 
fast, and they're all so scattered over the woods there's no 
telling when we will get every one here to eat. I see another 
tablecloth in your basket, Mrs. Ballard. If you'll be good 
enough to just hold that corner, we can cover everything up 
good, so, and then I'll walk about a bit and call them all 
together." And the kindly lady stepped briskly off through 
the woods, still talking, while Mrs. Ballard and Mrs. Walters 
sat themselves down in the shade and quietly watched the 
coffee and chatted. 

It was past the noon hour, and the air was drowsy and 
still. The voices and laughter of the nut gatherers came 
back to them from the deeper woods in the distance, and the 
crackling of the fire where Bertrand attended to the roast- 
ing of the corn near by, and the gentle sound of the lapping 
water on the river bank came to them out of the stillness. 

"I wonder if Mr. Walters tied the horses good !" said his 
wife. "Seems as if one's got loose. Don't you hear a 
horse galloping?" 

" They're all there eating," said Mary, rising and look- 
ing about. "Some one's coming, away off there over the 
bluff; see?" 

"I wonder, now ! My, but he rides well. He must be 
coming here. I hope there's nothing the matter. It looks 
like — it might be Peter Junior, only he's here already." 



THE NUTTING PARTY 121 



it 



It's — it's — no, it can't be — it is ! It's — Bertrand, 
Bertrand! Why, it's Richard!" cried Mary Ballard, as 
the horseman came toward them, loping smoothly along 
under the trees, now in the sunlight and now in the shadow. 
He leaped from the saddle, and, throwing the rein over a 
knotted limb, walked rapidly toward them, holding out a 
hand to each, as Bertrand and Mary hurried forward. 

"I couldn't let you good folks have one of these fine old 
times without me." 

"Why, when did you come? Oh, Richard ! It's good 
to see you again," said Mary. 

"Icame this morning. I went up to my uncle's and then 
to your house and found you all away, and learned that you 
were here and my twin with you, so here I am. How are 
the children ? All grown up ? " 

"Almost. Come and sit down and give an account of 
yourself to Mary, while I try to get hold of the rest," said 
Bertrand. 

"Mrs. Dean has gone for them, father. Mrs. Walters, 
the coffee's all right; come and sit down here and let's 
visit until the others come. You remember Richard Kil- 
dene, Mrs. Walters?" 

"Since he was a baby, but it's been so long since I've seen 
you, Richard. I don't believe I'd have known you unless 
for your likeness to Peter Junior. You look stronger than 
he now. Redder and browner." 

" I ought to. I've been in the 'open air and sun for weeks. 
I'm only here now by chance." 

"A happy chance for us, Richard. Where have you been 
of late ? " asked Bertrand. 

"Out on the plains — riding and keeping a gang of men 



122 THE EYE OF DREAD 

under control, for the most part, and pushing the work as 
rapidly as possible." He tossed back his hair with the old 
movement Mary remembered so well. "Tell me about the 
children, Martha and Betty; both grown up? Or still 
ready to play with a comrade ? " 

" They're all here to-day. Martha's teaching in the city, 
but Betty's at home helping me, as always. The boys are 
getting such big fellows, and little Janey's as sweet as all the 
rest." 

"There ! That's Betty's laugh, I know. I'd recognize 
it if I heard it out on the plains. I have, sometimes — 
when a homesick fit gets hold of me out under the stars, 
when the noise of the camp has subsided. A good deal of 
that work is done by the very refuse of humanity, you 
know, a mighty tough lot." 

" And you like that sort of thing, Richard ? " asked Mary. 
"I thought when you went to your people in Scotland, you 
might be leading a very different kind of life by now." 

"I thought so, too, then; but I guess for some reasons 
this is best. Still, I couldn't resist stealing a couple of 
days to run up here and see you all. I got off a carload of 
supplies yesterday from Chicago, and then I wired back to 
the end of the line that I'd be two days later myself. No 
wonder I followed you out here. I couldn't afford to waste 
the precious hours. I say ! That's Betty again ! I'll 
find them and say you're hungry, shall I ? " 

" Oh, they're coming now. I see Martha's pink dress, and 
there's Betty in green over there." 

But Richard was gone, striding over the fallen leaves 
toward the spot of green which was Betty's gingham dress. 
And Betty, spying him, forgot she was grown up. She ran 



THE NUTTING PARTY 123 

toward him with outstretched arms, as of old — only — 
just as he reached her, she drew back and a wave of red 
suffused her face. She gave him one hand instead of both, 
and called to Peter Junior to hurry. 

"Well, Betty Ballard ! I can't jump you along now over 
stocks and stones as I used to. And here's everybody ! 
Why, Jamie, what a great man you are ! I'll have to take 
you back with me to help build the new road. And here's 
Bobby ; and this little girl — I wonder if she remembers 
me well enough to give me a kiss ? I have nobody to. kiss 
me now, when I come back. That's right. That's what 
Betty used to do. Why, hello ! here's Clara Dean, and 
who's this ? John Walters ? So you're a man, too ! Mr. 
Dean, how are you ? And Mrs. Dean ! You don't grow 
any older anyway, so I'll walk with you. Wait until I've 
pounded this old chap a minute. Why didn't I write I was 
coming ? Man, I didn't know it myself. I'm under orders 
nowadays. To get here at all I had to steal time. So 
you're graduated from a crutch to a cane ? Good ! " 

Every one exclaimed at once, while Richard talked right 
pn, until they reached the riverside where the lunch was 
spread ; and then the babble was complete. 

That night, as they all drove home in the moonlight, 
Richard tied his horse to the rear of the Ballards' wagon and 
rode home seated on the hay with the rest. He placed 
himself where Betty sat on his right, and the two boys 
crowded as close to him as possible on his left. Little 
Janey, cuddled at Betty's side, was soon fast asleep with 
her head in her sister's lap, while Lucien Thurbyfil was well 
pleased to have Martha in the corner to himself. Peter 
Junior sat near Betty and listened with interest to his 



124 THE EYE OF DREAD 

cousin, who entertained them all with tales of the plains 
and the Indians, and the game that supplied them with 
many a fine meal in camp. 

"Say, did you ever see a real herd of wild buffalo just 
tearing over the ground and kicking up a great dust and 
stampeding and everything ?" said Jamie. 

"Oh, yes. And if you are out there all alone on your 
pony, you'd better keep away from in front of them, too, or 
you'd be trampled to death in a jiffy." 

"What's stampeding?" said Bobby. 

So Richard explained it, and much more that elicited 
long breaths of interest. He told them of the miles and 
miles of land without a single tree or hill, and only a sea of 
grass as far as the eye could reach, as level as Lake Michigan, 
and far vaster. And how the great railway was now ap- 
proaching the desert, and how he had seen the bones of 
men and cattle and horses bleaching white, lying beside 
their broken-down wagons half buried in the drifting sand. 
He told them how the trail that such people had made with 
so much difficulty stretched far, far away into the desert 
along the very route, for the most part, that the railroad 
was taking, and answered their questions so interestingly 
that the boys were sorry when they reached home at last 
and they had to bid good-night to Peter Junior's fascinating 
cousin, Richard. 



CHAPTER XI 

BETTY BALLARD'S AWAKENING 

Mary and Bertrand always went early to church, for 
Bertrand led the choir, and it was often necessary for him 
to gather the singers together and try over the anthem before 
the service. Sometimes the rector would change the hymns, 
and then the choir must have one little rehearsal of them. 
Martha and Mr. Thurbyfil accompanied them this morning, 
and Betty and the boys were to walk, for four grown-ups 
with little Janey sandwiched in between more than filled 
the carryall. 

In these days Betty no longer had to wash and dress her 
brothers, but there were numerous attentions required of 
her, such as only growing boys can originate, and " sister " 
was as kind and gay in helping them over their difficulties 
as of old. So, now, as she stepped out of her room all 
dressed for church in her white muslin with green rose 
sprigs over it, with her green parasol, and her prayer book 
in her hand, Bobby called her. 

" Oh, Sis ! I've broken my shoe string and it's time to 
start." 

"I have a new one in my everyday shoes, Bobby, dear; 
run upstairs and take it out. They're just inside the closet 
door. Wait a minute, Jamie; that lock stands straight 
up on the back of your head. Can't you make it lie down ? 
Bring me the brush. You look splendid in your new 

i2<; 



i 



126 THE EYE OF DREAD 

trousers. Now, you hurry on ahead and leave this at the 
Deans'. It's Clara's sash bow. I found it in the wagon 
after they left last night. Run, she may want to wear it 
to church. — Yes, Bobby, dear, I sent him on, but you can 
catch up. Have you a handkerchief? Yes, I'll follow 
in a minute." 

And the boys rushed off, looking very clean in their 
Sunday clothing, and very old and mannish in their long 
trousers and stiff hats. Betty looked after them with 
pride, then she bethought her that the cat had not had her 
saucer of milk, and ran down to the spring to get it, leaving 
the doors wide open behind her. The day was quite warm 
enough for her to wear the summer gown, and she was very 
winsome and pretty in her starched muslin, with the deli- 
cate green buds sprayed over it. She wore a green belt, 
too, and the parasol she was very proud of, for she had 
bought it with her own chicken money. It was her heart's 
delight. Betty's skirt reached nearly to the ground, for 
she was quite in long dresses, and two little ruffles rippled 
about her feet as she ran down the path to the spring. 
But, alas ! As she turned away after carefully fastening 
the spring-house door, the cat darted under her feet ; and 
Betty stumbled and the milk streamed down the front of 
her dress and spattered her shoes — and if there was any- 
thing Betty liked, it was to have her shoes very neat. 

"Oh, Kitty ! I hate your running under my feet that 
way all the time." Betty was almost in tears. She set 
the saucer down and tried to wipe off the milk, while the 
cat crouched before the dish and began drinking eagerly 
and unthankfully, after the manner of cats. 

Some one stood silently watching her from the kitchen 



BETTY BALLARD'S AWAKENING 127 

steps as she walked slowly up the path, gazing down on the 
ruin of the pretty starched ruffles. 

"Why, Richard ! " was all she said, for something came up 
in her throat and choked her. She waited where she stood, 
and in his eyes, her aspect seemed that of despair. Was it 
all for the spilled milk ? 

"Why, Betty dear!" He caught her and kissed her 
and laughed at her and comforted her all at once. "Not 
tears, dear? Tears to greet me? You didn't half greet 
me last evening, and I came only to see you. Now you will, 
where there's no one to see and no one to hear? Yes. 
Never mind the spilled milk, you know better than that." 
But Betty lay in his arms, a little crumpled wisp of sorrow, 
white and still. 

"Away off there in Cheyenne I got to thinking of you, 
and I went to headquarters and asked to be sent on this 
commission just to get the chance to run up here and tell 
you I have been waiting all these years for you to grow up. 
You have haunted me ever since I left Leauvite. You 
darling, your laughing face was always with me, on the 
march — in prison — and wherever I've been since. I've 
been trying to keep myself right — for you — so I might 
dare some day to take you in my arms like this and tell 
you — so I need not be ashamed before your — " 

"Oh, Richard, wait!" wailed Betty, but he would not 
wait. 

"I've waited long enough. I see you are grown up 
before I even dreamed you could be. Thank heaven I 
came now ! You are so sweet some one would surely have 
won you away from me — but no one can now — no one." 

"Richard, why didn't you tell me this when you first 



128 THE EYE OF DREAD 

came home from the war — before you went to Scotland ? 
I would—" 

"Not then, sweetheart; I couldn't. I didn't even 
know then I would ever be worth the love of any woman ; 
and — you were such a child then — I couldn't intrude 
my weariness — my worn-out self on you. I was sick at 
heart when I got out of that terrible prison ; but now it is 
all changed. I am my own man now, dependent on no one, 
and able to marry you out of hand, Betty, dear. After 
you've told me something, I'll do whatever you say, wait 
as long as you say. No, no ! Listen ! Don't break away 
from me. You don't hate me as you do the cat. I haven't 
been running under your feet all the time, have I, dear ? 
Listen. See here, my arms are strong now. They can 
hold you forever, just like this. I've been thinking of you 
and dreaming of you and loving you through these years. 
You have never been out of my mind nor out of my heart. 
I've kept the little housewife you made me and bound with 
your cherry-colored hair ribbon until it is in rags, but I 
love it still. I love it. They took everything I had about 
me at the prison ; but this — they gave back to me. It 
was the only thing I begged them to leave me." 

Poor little Betty ! She tried to speak and tried again, 
but she could not utter a word. Her mouth grew dry and 
her knees would not support her. Richard was so big and 
strong he did not feel her weight, and only delighted in the 
thought that she resigned herself to him. "Darling little 
Betty ! Darling little Betty ! You do understand, don't 
you ? Won't you tell me you do ? " 

But she only closed her eyes and lay quite still. She 
longed to lift her arms and put them about his neck, and 



BETTY BALLARD'S AWAKENING 129 

the effort not to do so only crushed her spirit the more. 
Now she knew she was bad, and unworthy such a great love 
as this. She had let Peter Junior kiss her, and she had told 
him she loved him — and it was nothing to this. She was 
not good ; she was unworthy, and all the angels in heaven 
could never bring her comfort any more. She was so still 
he put his cheek to hers, and it seemed as if she moaned, and 
that without a sound. 

"Have I hurt you, Betty, dear?" 

"Oh, no, Richard, no." 

"Do you love me, sweet?" 

"Yes, Richard, yes. I love 'you so I could die of loving 
you, and I can't help it. Oh, Richard, I can't help it." 

" It's asking too much that you should love me so, and yet 
that's what my selfish, hungry heart wants and came here 
for." 

"Take your face away, Richard; stop. I must talk if 
it kills me. I have been so bad and wicked. Oh, Richard, 
I can't tell you how wicked. Let me stand by myself now. 
I can." She fought back the tears and turned her face 
away from him, but when he let go of her, in her weakness 
she swayed, and he caught her to him again, with many re- 
peated words of tenderness. 

" If you will take me to the steps, Richard, and bring me a 
glass of water, I think I can talk to you then. You remem- 
ber where things are in this house ?" 

Did he remember ? Was there anything he had forgotten 
about this beloved place ? He brought her the water and 
she made him sit beside her, but not near, only that she need 
not look in his eyes. 
^ "Richard, I thought something was love — that was not 



i 3 o THE EYE OF DREAD 

— I didn't know. It was only liking — and — and now I 

— I've been so wrong — and I want to die — Oh, I want to 
die ! No, don't. Do you want to make me sin again ? 
Oh, Richard, Richard ! If you had only come before ! 
Now it is too late." She began sobbing bitterly, and her 
small frame shook with her grief. 

He seized her wrists and his hand trembled. She tried 
to cover her face with her hands, but he took them down and 
held them. 

" Betty, what have you done ? Tell me — tell me quick." 

Then she turned her face toward him, wet with tears. 
"Have pity on me, Richard. Have pity on me, Richard, 
for my heart is broken, and the thing that hurts me most 
is that it will hurt you." 

"But it wasn't yesterday when I came to you out there 
in the woods. I heard you laughing, and you ran to meet 
me as happy as ever — " 

"You did not hear me laugh once again after you came 
and looked in my eyes there in the grove. It was in that 
instant that my heart began to break, and now I know why. 
Go back to Cheyenne. Go far away and never think of 
me any more. I am not worthy of you, anyway. I have 
let you hold me in your arms and kiss me when I ought not. 
Oh, I have been so bad — so bad ! Let me hide mfy face. 
I can't look in your eyes any more." 

But he was cruel. He made her look in his eyes and tell 
him all the sorrowful truth. Then at last he grew pitiful 
again and tried brokenly to comfort her, to make her feel that 
something would intervene to help them, but in his heart 
he knew that his cause was lost, and his hopes burned within 
him, a heap of smoldering coals dying in their own ashes. 



BETTY BALLARD'S AWAKENING 131 

He had always loved Peter Junior too well to blame him, 
especially as Peter could not have known what havoc he 
was making of his cousin's hopes. It had all been a terrible 
mischance, and now they must make the best of it and be 
brave. Yet a feeling of resentment would creep into his 
heart in spite of his manful resolve to be fair to his cousin, 
and let nothing interfere with their lifelong friendship. 
In vain he told himself that Peter had the same right as he 
to seek Betty's love. Why not? Why should he think 
himself the only one to be considered? But there was 
Betty ! And when he thought of her, his soul seemed to go 
out of him. Too late ! Too late ! And so he rose and 
walked sorrowfully away. 

When Mary Ballard came home from church, she found 
her little daughter up in her room on her knees beside her 
bed, her arms stretched out over the white counterpane, 
asleep. She had suffered until nature had taken her into 
her own soothing arms and put her to sleep through sheer 
weakness. Her cheeks were still burning and her eyelids 
red from weeping. Mary thought her in a fever, and gently 
helped her to remove the pretty muslin dress and got her to 
bed. 

" Betty drew a long sigh as her head sank back into the 
pillow. "My head aches; don't worry, mother, dear." 
She thought her heart was closed forever on her terrible 
secret. 

"Mother '11 bring you something for it, dear. You must 
have eaten something at the picnic that didn't agree with 
you." She kissed Betty's cheek, and at the door paused to 
look back on her, and a strange misgiving smote her. 

"I can't think what ails her," she said to Martha. " She 



i 3 2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

seems to be in a high fever. Did she sleep well last 
night?" 

"Perfectly, but we talked a good while before we went to 
sleep. Perhaps she got too tired yesterday. I thought she 
seemed excited, too. Mrs. Walters always makes her coffee 
so strong." 

■ Peter Junior came in to dinner, buoyant and happy. He 
was disappointed not to see Betty, and frankly avowed it. 
He followed Mary into the kitchen and begged to be al- 
lowed to go up and speak to Betty for only a minute, but 
Mary thought sleep would be the best remedy and he would 
better leave her alone. He had been to church with his 
father, and all through the morning service as he sat at his 
father's side he had meditated how he could persuade the 
Elder to look on his plans with some degree of favor — 
enough at least to warrant him in going on with them and 
trust to his father's coming around in time. 

Neither he nor Richard were at the Elder's at dinner, 
and the meal passed in silence, except for a word now and 
then in regard to the sermon. Hester thought continually 
of her son and his hopes, but as she glanced from time to 
time in her husband's face she realized that silence on her 
part was still best. Whenever the Elder cleared his throat 
and looked off out of the window, as was his wont when 
about to speak of any matter of importance, her heart 
leaped and her eyes gazed intently at her plate, to hide the 
emotion she could not restrain. Her hands grew cold and 
her lips tremulous, but still she waited. 

It was the Elder's custom to sleep after the Sunday's 
dinner, which was always a hearty one, lying down on the 
sofa in the large parlor, where the closed blinds made a 



BETTY BALLARD'S AWAKENING 133 

pleasant somberness. Hester passed the door and looked 
in on him, as he lay apparently asleep, his long, bony frame 
stretched out and the muscles of his strong face relaxing to 
a softness they sometimes assumed when sleeping. Her 
heart went out to him. Oh, if he only knew ! If she only 
dared ! His boy ought to love him, and understand him. 
If they would only understand ! 

Then she went up into Peter Junior's "room and sat there 
where she had sat seven years before — where she had often 
sat since — gazing across at the red-coated old ancestor, 
her hands in her lap, her thoughts busy with her son's 
future even as then. If all the others had lived, would the 
quandary and the struggle between opposing wills have 
been as great for each one as for this sole survivor ? Where 
were those little ones now? Playing in happy fields and 
waiting for her and the stern old man who also suffered, but 
knew not how to reveal his heart ? Again and again the 
words repeated themselves in her heart mechanically: 
41 Wait on the Lord — Wait on the Lord," and then, again, 
"Oh, Lord, how long?" 

Peter Junior returned early from the Ballards', since he 
could not see Betty, leaving the field open for Martha and 
her guest, much to the guest's satisfaction. He went 
straight to the room occupied by Richard whenever he was 
with them, but no Richard was there. His valise was all 
packed ready for his start on the morrow, but there was no 
line pinned to the frame of the mirror telling Peter Junior 
where to find him, as was Richard's way in the past. With 
a fleeting glance around to see if any bit of paper had been 
blown away, he went to his own room and there he found his 
mother, waiting. In an instant that long ago morning 



i 3 4 THE EYE OF DREAD 

came to his mind, and as then he went swiftly to her, and, 
kneeling, clasped her in his arms. 

"Are you worried, mother mine? It's all right. I will 
be careful and restrained. Don't be troubled." 

Hester clasped her boy's head to her bosom and rested 
her face against his soft hair. For a while the silence was 
deep and the moments burned themselves into the young 
man's soul with a purifying fire never to be forgotten. 
Presently she began speaking to him in low, murmuring 
tones: "Your father is getting to be an old man, Peter, 
dear, and I — I am no longer young. Our boy is dear to 
us — the dearest. In our different ways we long only for 
what is best for you. If only it might be revealed to you 
and us alike ! Many paths are good paths to walk in, and 
the way may be happy in any one of them, for happiness 
is of the spirit. It is in you — not made for you by cir- 
cumstances. We have been so happy here, since you came 
home wounded, and to be wounded is not a happy thing, 
as you well know ; but it seemed to bring you and me happi- 
ness, nevertheless. Did it not, dear ?" 

"Indeed yes, mother. Yes. It gave me a chance to 
have you to myself a lot, and that ought to make any man 
happy, with a mother like you. And now — a new happi- 
ness came to me, the other day, that I meant to speak 
of yesterday and couldn't after getting so angry with 
father. It seemed like sacrilege to speak of it then, 
and, besides, there was another feeling that made me 
hesitate." 

"So you are in love with some one, Peter ?" 

"Yes, mother. How did you guess it ? " 

"Because only love is a feeling that would make you say 



BETTY BALLARD'S AWAKENING 135 

you could not speak of it when your heart is full of anger. 
Is it Betty, dear ?" 

"Yes, mother. You are uncanny to read me so." 

She laughed softly and held him closer. "I love Betty, 
too, Peter. You will always be gentle and kind? You 
will never be hard and stern with her ? " 

" Mother! Have I ever been so? Can't you tell by 
the way I have always acted toward you that I would be 
tender and kind? She will be myself — my very own. 
How could I be otherwise?" 

Again Hester smiled her slow, wise smile. "You have 
always been tender, Peter, but you have always gone 
right along and done your own way, absolutely. The 
only reason there has not been more friction between 
you and your father has been that you have been tactful ; 
also you have never seemed to desire unworthy things. 
You have been a good son, dear: I am not complaining. 
And the only reason why I have never — or seldom — felt 
hurt by your taking your own way has been that my likings 
have usually responded to yours, and the thing I most 
desired was that you should be allowed to take your own 
way. It is good for a man to be decided and to have a 
way of his own : I have liked it in you. But the matter 
still stands that it has always been your way and never 
any one's else that you have taken. I can see you being 
stern even with a wife you thought you wholly loved if her 
will once crossed yours." 

Peter Junior was silent and a little hurt. He rose and 
paced the room. "I can't think I could ever cross 
Betty, or be unkind. It seems preposterous," he said 
at last. 



136 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Perhaps it might never seem to you necessary. Peter, 
boy, listen. You say: 'She will be myself — my very 
o^m.' Now what does that mean? Does it mean that 
when you are married, her personality will be merged in 
yours, and so you two will be one ? If so, you will not be 
completed and rounded out, and she will be lost in you* 
A man does not reach his full manhood to completion until 
he has loved greatly and truly, and has found the one who 
is to complete him. At best, by ourselves, we are never 
wholly man or wholly woman until this great soul comple- 
tion has taken place in us. Then children come to us, and 
our very souls are knit in one, and still the mystery goes on 
and on; never are we completed by being lost — either 
one — in the will or nature of the other ; but to make the 
whole and perfect creature, each must retain the individ- 
uality belonging to himself or herself, each to each the per- 
fect and equal other half." 

Peter Junior paused in his walk and stood for a moment 
looking down on his mother, awed by what she revealed to 
him of her inner nature. "I believe you have done this, 
mother. You have kept your own individuality complete, 
and father doesn't know it." 

"Not yet, but my hand will always be in his, and some 
day he will know. You are very like him, and yet you 
understand me as he never has, so you see how our oneness 
is wrought out in you. That which you have in you of 
your father is good and strong : never lose it. The day 
may come when you will be glad to have had such a father. 
Out in the world men need such traits ; but you must not 
forget that sometimes it takes more strength to yield than 
to hold your own way. Yes, it takes strength and courage 



BETTY BALLARD'S AWAKENING 137 

sometimes to give up — and tremendous faith in God. 
There ! I hear him walking about. Go down and have 
your talk with him. Remember what I say, dear, and 
don't get angry with your father. He loves you, too." 

"Have you said anything to him yet about — me — 
mother?" 

"No. I have dedded that it will be better for you to 
deal with him yourself — courageously. You'll remem- 
ber ? " 

Peter Junior took her again in his arms as she rose and 
stood beside him, and kissed her tenderly. "Yes, mother. 
Dear, good, wise mother ! I'll try to remember all. It 
would have been easier for you, maybe, if ever father's 
mother had said to him the things you have just said to 
me. 

"Life teaches us these things. If we keep an open mind, 
so God fills it." 

She stood still in the middle of the room, listening to his 
rapid steps in the direction of the parlor. Then Hester 
did a thing very unusual for her to do of a -Sunday. She 
put on her shawl and bonnet and walked out to see Mary 
Ballard. 

No one ever knew what passed between Peter Junior and 
his father in that parlor. The Elder did not open his lips 
about it either at home or at the bank. 

That Sunday evening some one saw Peter Junior and his 
cousin walking together up the bluff where the old camp 
had stood, toward the sunset. The path had many wind- 
ings, and the bluff was dark and brown, and the two figures 
stood out clear and strong against the sky of gold. That 
was the last seen of either of the young men in the village. 



138 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



The one who saw them told later that he knew they were 
"the twins" because one of them walked with a stick and 
limped a little, and that the other was talking as if he were 
very much in earnest about something, for he was moving 
his arm up and down and gesticulating. 



CHAPTER Xn 

MYSTERIOUS FINDINGS 

Monday morning Elder Craigmile walked to the bank 
with the stubborn straightening of the knees at each step 
that always betokened irritation with him. Neither of 
the young men had appeared at breakfast, a matter pecul- 
iarly annoying to him. Peter Junior he had not expected 
to see, as, owing to his long period of recovery, he had 
naturally been excused from rigorous rules, but his nephew 
surely might have done that much out of courtesy, where 
he had always been treated as a son, to promote the order- 
liness of the household. It was unpardonable in the young 
man to lie abed in the morning thus when a guest in that 
home. It was a mistake of his wife to allow Peter Junior 
a night key. It induced late hours. He would take it 
from him. And as for Richard — there was no telling what 
habits he had fallen into during these years of wandering. 
What if he had come home to them with a clear 9kin and 
laughing eye ! Was not the "heart of man deceitful above 
all things and desperately wicked " ? And was not Satan 
abroad in the world laying snares for the feet of wandering 
youths? 

It was still early enough for many of the workmen to be 
on their way to their day of labor with their tin dinner pails, 
and among them Mr. Walters passed him, swinging his pail 
with the rest, although he was master of his own foundry 

139 



i 4 o THE EYE OF DREAD 

and employed fifty men. He had always gone early to 
work, and carried his tin pail when he was one of the work- 
men, and he still did it from choice. He, too, was a Scotch- 
man of a slightly different class from the Elder, it is true, 
but he was a trustee of the church, and a man well respected 
in the community. 

He touched his hat to the Elder, and the Elder nodded 
in return, but neither spoke a word. Mr. Walters smiled 
after he was well past. "The man has a touch of the in- 
digestion," he said. 

When the Elder entered his front door at noon, his first 
glance was at the rack in the corner of the hall, where, on 
the left-hand hook, Peter Junior's coat and hat had hung 
when he was at home, ever since he was a boy. They were 
not there. The Elder lifted his bushy brows one higher 
than the other, then drew them down to their usual straight 
line, and walked on into the dining room. His wife was 
not there, but in a moment she entered, looking white and 
perturbed. 

"Peter !" she said, going up to her husband instead of 
taking her place opposite him, "Peter !" She laid a trem- 
bling hand on his arm. "I haven't seen the boys this morn- 
ing. Their beds have not been slept in. ,, 

"Quiet yourself, lass, quiet yourself. Sit and eat in 
peace. 'Evil communications corrupt good manners/ 
but when doom strikes him, he'll maybe experience a change 
of heart." The Elder spoke in a tone not unkindly. He 
seated himself heavily. 

Then his wife silently took her place at the table and he 
bowed his head and repeated the grace to which she had 
listened three times a day for nearly thirty years, only that 



MYSTERIOUS FINDINGS 141 

this time he added the request that the Lord would, in his 
"merciful kindness, strike terror to the hearts of all evil- 
doers and turn them from their way." 

When the silent meal was ended, Hester followed her 
husband to the door and laid a detaining hand on his arm. 
He stood and looked down on that slender white hand as if 
it were something that too sudden a movement would 
joggle off, and she did not know that it was as if she had 
laid her hand on his very heart. "Peter, tell me what 
happened yesterday afternoon. You should tell me, 
Peter." 

Then the Elder did an unwonted thing. He placed his 
hand over hers and pressed it harder on his arm, and after 
an instant's pause he stooped and kissed her on the forehead. 

"I spoke the lad fair, Hester, and made him an offer, but 
he would none of it. He thinks he is his own master, but I 
have put him in the Lord's hands." 

"Has he gone, Peter?" 

"Maybe, but the offer I made him was a good one. 
Comfort your heart, lass. If he's gone, he will return. 
When the Devil holds the whip, he makes a hard bargain, 
and drives fast. When the boy is hard pressed, he will be 
glad to return to his father's house." 

"Richard's valise is gone. The maid says he came late 
yesterday after I was gone, and took it away with him." 

"They are likely gone together." 

"But Peter's things are all here. No, they would never 
go like that and not bid me good-by." 

The Elder threw out his hands with his characteristic 
downward gesture of impatience. "I have no way of 
knowing, more than you. It is no doubt that Richard has 



i 4 2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

become a ne'er-do-weel. He felt shame to tell us he was 
going a journey on the Sabbath day." 

' ' Oh, Peter, I think not. Peter, be just. You know your 
son was never one to let the Devil drive ; he is like yourself, 
Peter. And as for Richard, Peter Junior would never think 
so much of him if he were a ne'er-do-weel." 

"Women are foolish and fond. It is their nature, and 
perhaps that is how we love them most, but the men should 
rule, for their own good. A man should be master in his 
own house. When the lad returns, the door is open to him. 
That is enough." 

With a sorrowful heart he left her, and truth to tell, the 
sorrow was more for his wife's hurt than for his own. The 
one great tenderness of his life was his feeling for her, and 
this she felt rather than knew; but he believed himself 
absolutely right and that the hurt was inevitable, and for 
her was intensified by her weakness and fondness. 

As for Hester, she turned away from the door and went 
quietly about her well-ordered house, directing the maid- 
servant and looking carefully over her husband's wardrobe. 
Then she did the same for Peter Junior's, and at last, taking 
her basket of mending, she sat in the large, lace-curtained 
window looking out toward the west — the direction from 
which Peter Junior would be likely to come. For how 
long she would sit there during the days to come — waiting 
— she little knew. 

She was comforted by the thought of the talk she had had 
with him the day before. She knew he was upright, and 
she felt that this quarrel — if it had been a quarrel — with 
his father would surely be healed; and then, there was 
Betty to call him back. The love of a girl was a good thing 



MYSTERIOUS FINDINGS 143 

for a man. It would be stronger to draw him and hold 
him than love of home or of mother ; it was the divine way 
for humanity, and it was a good way, and she must be patient 
and wait. 

She was glad she had gone without delay to Mary Ballard. 
The two women were fond of each other, and the visit had 
been most satisfactory. Betty she had not seen, for the 
maiden was still sleeping the long, heavy sleep which saves 
a normal healthy body from wreck after severe emotion. 
Betty was so young — it might be best that matters should 
wait awhile as they were. 

If Peter Junior went to Paris now, he would have to earn 
his own way, of course, and possibly he had gone west with 
Richard where he could earn faster than at home. Maybe 
that had been the grounds of the quarrel. Surely she would 
hear from him soon. Perhaps he had taken their talk on 
Sunday afternoon as a good-by to her; or he might yet 
come to her and tell her his plans. So she comforted herself 
in the most wholesome and natural way. 

Richard's action in taking his valise away during her 
absence and leaving no word of farewell for her was more of 
a surprise to her. But then — he might have resented the 
Elder's attitude and sided with his cousin. Or, he might 
have feared he would say things he would afterwards regret, 
if he appeared, and so have taken himself quietly away. 
Still, these reasons did not wholly appeal to her, and she 
was filled with misgivings for him even more than for her 
son. 

Peter Junior she trusted absolutely and Richard she loved 
as a son ; but there was much of his father in him, and the 
Irish nature was erratic and wild, as the Elder said. Where 



144 THE EYE OF DREAD 

was that father now ? No one knew. It was one of the 
causes for anxiety she had for the boy that his father had 
been lost to them all ever since Richard's birth and his 
wife's death. He had gone out of their lives as completely 
as a candle in a gale of wind. She had mothered the boy, 
and the Elder had always been kind to him for his own dead 
sister's sake, but of the father they never spoke. 

It was while Hester Craigmile sat in her western window, 
thinking her thoughts, that two lads came hurrying down 
the bluff from the old camp ground, breathless and awed. 
One carried a straw hat, and the other a stout stick — a 
stick with an irregular knob at the end. It was Larry 
Kildene's old blackthorn that Peter Junior had been carry- 
ing. The Ballards' home was on the way between the bluff 
and the village, and Mary Ballard was standing at their 
gate watching for the children from school. She wished 
Jamie to go on an errand for her. 

Mary noticed the agitation of the boys. They were 
John Walters and Charlie Dean — two chums who were 
always first to be around when there was anything unusual 
going on, or to be found. It was they who discovered the 
fire in the foundry in time to have it put out. It was they 
who knew where the tramps were hiding who had been 
stealing from the village stores, and now Mary wondered 
what they had discovered. She left the gate swinging open 
and walked down to meet them. 

"What is it, boys?" 

"We — we — found these — and — there's something 
happened," panted the boys, both speaking at once. 

She took the hat of white straw from John's hand. 
"Why ! This is Peter Junior's hat ! Where did you find 



MYSTERIOUS FINDINGS 145 

it?" She turned it about and saw dark red stains, as if 
it had been grasped by a bloody hand — finger marks of 
blood plainly imprinted on the rim. 

"And this, Mrs. Ballard," said Charlie, putting Peter 
Junior's stick in her hand, and pointing to the same red 
stains sunken into the knob. "We think there's been a 
fight and some one's been hit with this." 

She took it and looked at it in a dazed way. "Yes. He 
was carrying this in the place of his crutch," she said, as if 
to herself. j 

"We think somebody's been pushed over the bluff into 
the river, Mrs. Ballard, for they's a hunk been tore out as 
big as a man, from the edge, and it's gone clean over, and 
down into the river. We can see where it is gone. And 
it's an awful swift place." 

She handed the articles back to the boys. 

" Sit down in the shade here, and I'll bring you some sweet 
apples, and if any one comes by, don't say anything about it 
until I have time to consult with Mr. Ballard." 

She hurried back and passed quickly around the house, 
and on to her husband, who was repairing the garden 
fence. 

"Bertrand, come with me quickly. Something serious 
has happened. I don't want Betty to hear of it until we 
know what it is." •] 

■ They hastened to the waiting boys, and together they 
slowly climbed the long path leading to the old camping 
place. Bertrand carried the stick and the hat carefully, 
for they were matters of great moment. 

"This looks grave," he said, when the boys had told him 
their story. 



i 4 6 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Perhaps we ought to have brought some one with us — 
if anything — " said Mary. 

"No, no ; better wait and see, before making a stir." 

It was a good half hour's walk up the hill, and every 
moment of the time seemed heavily freighted with fore- 
boding. They said no more until they reached the spot 
where the boys had found the edge of the bluff torn away. 
There, for a space of about two feet only, back from the 
brink, the sparse grass was trampled, and the earth showed 
marks of heels and in places the sod was freshly torn up. 

"There's been something happened here, you see," said 
Charlie Dean. 

"Here is where a foot has been braced to keep from being 
pushed over ; see, Mary ? And here again." 

" I see indeed." Mary looked, and stooping, picked some- 
thing from the ground that glinted through the loosened 
earth. She held it on her open palm toward Bertrand, and 
the two boys looked intently at it. Her husband did not 
touch it, but glanced quickly into her eyes and then at the 
boys. Then her fingers closed over it, and taking her hand- 
kerchief she tied it in one corner securely. 

"Did you ever see anything like it, boys?" she asked. 

" No, ma'am. It's a watch charm, isn't it ? Or what ? " 

"I suppose it must be." 

"I guess the fellah that was being pushed over must V 
grabbed for the other fellah's watch. Maybe he was trying 
to rob him." 

"Let's see whether we can find anything else," said John 
Walters, peering over the bluff. 

" Don't, John, don't. You may fall over. It might have 
been a fall, and one of them might have been trying to save 



MYSTERIOUS FINDINGS 147 

the other, you know. He might have caught at him and 
puJied this off. There's no reason why we should surmise 
the worst." 

"They might ha' been playing — you know — wrestling 
— and it might V happened so," said Charlie. 

"Naw! They'd been big fools to wrestle so near the 
edge of the bluff as this," said the practical John. "I see 
something white way down there, Mrs. Ballard. I can get 
it, I guess." 

"But take care, John. Go further round by the path." 

Both boys ran along the bluff until they came to a path 
that led down to the river. "Do be careful, boys !" called 
Mary. 

"Now, let me see that again, my dear," and Mary untied 
the handkerchief. "Yes, it is what I thought. That be- 
longed to Larry Kildene. He got it in India, although he 
said it was Chinese. He was a year in the British service in 
India. I've often examined it. I should have known it 
anywhere. He must have left it with Hester for the boy." 

"Poor Larry! And it has come to this. I remember 
it on Richard's chain when he came out there to meet us in 
the grove. Bertrand, what shall we do ? They must have 
been here — and have quarreled — and what has happened ! 
I'm going back to ask Betty." 

"Ask Betty ! My dear ! What can Betty know about 
it?" 

"Something upset her terribly yesterday morning. She 
was ill and with no cause that I could see, and I believe she 
had had a nervous shock." 

"But she seemed all right this morning, — a little pale, 
but otherwise quite herself." Bertrand turned the little 



i 4 8 THE EYE OF DREAD 

charm over in his hand. "He thought it was Chinese 
because it is jade, but this carving is Egyptian. I don't 
think it is jade, and I don't think it is Chinese." 

" But whatever it is, it was on Richard's chain Saturday/' 
said Mary, sadly. "And now, what can we do? On 
second thought I'll say nothing to Betty. If a tragedy has 
come upon the Craigmiles, it will also fall on her now, and 
we must spare her all of it we can, until we know." 

A call came to them from below, and Bertrand hastily 
handed the charm back to his wife, and she tied it again in 
her handkerchief. 

"Oh, Bertrand, don't go near that terrible brink. 
It might give way. I'm sure this has been an acci- 
dent." 

"But the stick, Mary, and the marks of blood on Peter 
Junior's hat. I'm afraid — afraid." 

"But they were always fond of each other. They have 
been like brothers." 

"And quarrels between brothers are often the bitterest." 

"But we have never heard of their quarreling, and they 
were so glad to see each other Saturday. And you know 
Peter Junior was always possessed to do whatever Richard 
planned. They were that way about enlisting, you re- 
member, and everything else. What cause could Richard 
have against Peter Junior ?" 

"We can't say it was Richard against Peter. You see 
the stick was bloody, and it was Peter's. We must offer 
no opinion, no matter what we think, for the world may turn 
against the wrong one, and only time will tell." 

They both were silent as the boys came pantiiig up the 
bank. "Here's a handkerchief. It was what r saw. It 



4 
1 



MYSTERIOUS FINDINGS 149 

was caught on a thorn bush, and here — here's Peter 
Junior's little notebook, with his name — " 

"This is Peter's handkerchief. P. C. J. Hester Craigmile 
embroidered those letters." Mary's eyes filled with tears. 
"Bertrand, we must go to her. She may hear in some 
terrible way." 

"And the book, where was that, John ?" 

"It was lying on that flat rock. John had to crawl along 
the ledge on his belly to get it ; and here, I found this lead 
pencil," cried Charlie, excited and important. 

"'Faber No. 2/ Yes, this was also Peter's." Bertrand 
shut it in the notebook. " Mary, this looks sinister. We'd 
better go down. There's nothing more to learn here." 

"Maybe we'll find the young men both safely at home." 

"Richard was to leave early this morning." 

"I remember." 

Sadly they returned, and the two boys walked with them, 
gravely and earnestly propounding one explanation after 
another. 

"You'd better go back to the house, Mary, and I'll go 
on to the village with the boys. We'll consult with your 
father, John ; he's a thoughtful man, and — " 

"And he's a coroner, too — " said John. 

"Yes, but if there's nobody found, who's he goin' to sit 
on?" 

"They don't sit on the body, they sit on the jury," said 
John, with contempt. 

"Don't I know that ? But they've got to find the body, 
haven't they, before they can sit on anything? Guess I 
know that much." 

"Now, boys," said Bertrand, "this may turn out to be a 



ISO THE EYE OF DREAD 

very grave matter, and you must keep silent about it. It 
won't do to get the town all stirred up about it and all man- 
ner of rumors afloat. It must be looked into quietly first, 
by responsible people, and you must keep all your opinions 
and surmises to yourselves until the truth can be learned." 

"Don't walk, Bertrand ; take the carryall, and these can 
be put under the seat. Boys, if you'll go back there in the 
garden, you'll find some more apples, and I'll fetch you 
out some cookies to go with them." The boys briskly 
departed. "I don't want Betty to see them, and we'll be 
silent until we know what to tell her," Mary added, as they 
walked slowly up the front path. 

Bertrand turned off to the stable, carrying the sad trophies 
with him, and Mary entered the house. She looked first for 
Betty, but no Betty was to be found, and the children were 
at home clamoring for something to eat. They always 
came home from school ravenously hungry. Mary hastily 
packed them a basket of fruit and cookies and sent them to 
play picnic down by the brook. Still no Betty appeared. 

" Where is she?" asked Bertrand, as he entered the 
kitchen after bringing up the carryall. 

"I don't know. She may have gone over to Clara Dean's. 
She spoke of going there to-day. I'm glad — rather." 

"Yes, yes." 

A little later in the day, almost closing time at the bank, 
James Walters and Bertrand Ballard entered and asked to 
see the Elder. They were shown into the director's room, 
and found him seated alone at the great table in the center. 
He pushed his papers one side and rose, greeting them with 
his grave courtesy, as usual. 

Mr. Walters, a shy man of few words, looked silently at 



MYSTERIOUS FINDINGS 151 

Mr. Ballard to speak, while the Elder urged them to be 
seated. "A warm day for the season, and very pleasant 
to have it so. We'll hope the winter may come late this 
year." 

"Yes, yes. We wish to inquire after your son, Elder 
Craigmile. Is he at home to-day ? " 

"Ah, yes. He was not at home — not when I left this 
noon." The Elder cleared his throat and looked keenly 
at his friend. "Is it — ahem — a matter of business, Mr. 
Ballard?" 

" Unfortunately , no. We have come to inquire if he — 
when he was last at home — or if his cousin — has been 
with you?" 

" Not Richard, no. He came unexpectedly and has gone 
with as little ceremony, but my son was here on the Sab- 
bath — ahem — He dined that day with you, Mr. Bal- 
lard?" 

"He did — but — Elder, will you come with us? A 
matter with regard to him and his cousin should be looked 
into." 

"It is not necessary for me to interfere in matters re- 
garding my son any longer. He has taken the ordering of 
his life in his own hands hereafter. As for Richard, he has 
long been his own master." 

"Elder, I beg you to come with us. We fear foul play 
of some sort. It is not a question now of family differences 
of opinion." 

The Elder's face remained immovable, and Bertrand re- 
luctantly added, "We fear either your son or his cousin, 
possibly both of them, have met with disaster — maybe 
murder." 



152 THE EYE OF DREAD 

A pallor crept over the Elder's face, and without a word 
further he took his hat from a hook in the corner of the 
room, paused, and then carefully arranged the papers he had 
pushed aside at their entrance and placing them in his desk, 
turned the key, still without a word. At the door he 
waited a moment with his hand on the knob, and with the 
characteristic lift of his brows, asked : "Has anything been 
said to my wife?" 

"No, no. We thought best to do nothing until under 
your direction/ ' 

"Thank you. That's well. Whatever comes, I would 
spare her all I can." 

The three then drove slowly back to the top of the bluff, 
and on the way Bertrand explained to the Elder all that had 
transpired. "It seemed best to Mary and me that you 
should look the ground over yourself, before any action be 
taken. We hoped appearances might be deceptive, and that 
you would have information that would set our fears at 
rest before news of a mystery should reach the town." 

"Where are the boys who found these things?" 

Mr. Walters spjoke, "My son was one of them, and he is 
now at home. They are forbidden to speak to any one until 
we know more about it." 

Arrived at the top of the bluff the three men went care- 
fully over the ground, even descending the steep path to the 
margin of the river. 

"There," said Bertrand, "the notebook was picked up on 
that flat rock which juts out from that narrow ledge. John 
Walters crawled along the ledge to get it. The handkerchief 
was caught on that thorn shrub, halfway up, see ? And the 
pencil was picked up down here, somewhere." 



MYSTERIOUS FINDINGS 153 

The Elder looked up to the top of the bluff and down at 
the rushing river beneath, and as he looked he seemed visibly 
to shrink and become in the instant an old man — older by 
twenty years. As they climbed back again, his shoulders 
drooped and his breath came hard. As they neared the top, 
Bertrand turned and gave him his aid to gain a firm footing 
above. 

" Don't forget that we can't always trust to appearances," 
he urged. 

"Some heavy body — heavier than a clod of earth, has 
gone down there," said the Elder, and his voice sounded 
weak and thin. 

"Yes, yes. But even so, a stone may have been dis- 
lodged. You can't be sure." 

"Ay, the lads might have been wrestling in play — or the 
like — and sent a rock over ; it's like lads, that," hazarded 
Mr. Walters. 

"Wrestling on the Sabbath evening ! They are men, not 
lads." 

Mr. Walters looked down in embarrassment, and the old 
man continued. "Would a stone leave a handkerchief 
clinging to a thorn? Would it leave a notebook thrown 
down on yonder rock?" The Elder lifted his head and 
looked to the sky : holding one hand above his head he shook 
it toward heaven. " Would a stone leave a hat marked with 
a bloody hand — my son's hat ? There has been foul play 
here. May the curse of God fall on him who has robbed me 
of my son, be he stranger or my own kin." 

His voice broke and he reeled backward and would have 
fallen over the brink but for Bertrand's quickness. Then, 
trembling and bowed, his two friends led him back to the 



154 THE EYE OF DREAD' 

carryall and no further word was spoken until they reached 
the village, when the Elder said : — 

" Will you kindly drive me to the bank, Mr. Ballard ?" 

They did so. No one was there, and the Elder quietly 
unlocked the door and carried the articles found on the bluff 
into the room beyond and locked them away. Bertrand 
followed him, loath to leave him thus, and anxious to make 
a suggestion. The Elder opened the door of a cupboard 
recessed into the wall and laid the hat on a high shelf. Then 
he took the stick and looked at it with a sudden awakening 
in his eyes as if he saw it for the first time. 

' ' This stick — this blackthorn stick — accursed! How 
came it here ? I thought it had been burned. It was left 
years ago in my front hall by — Richard's father. I con- 
demned it to be burned." 

" Peter Junior was using that in place of his crutch, 
no doubt because of its strength. He had it at my house, 
and I recognize it now as one Larry brought over with 
him—" 

" Peter was using it ! My God ! My God ! The blow 
was struck with this. It is my son who is the murderer, 
and I have called down the curse of God on him ? It falls 
— it falls on me!" He sank in his chair — the same in 
which he had sat when he talked with Peter Junior — and 
bowed his head in his arms. "It is enough, Mr. Ballard. 
Will you leave me?" 

"I can't leave you, sir: there is more to be said. We 
must not be hasty in forming conclusions. If any one was 
thrown over the bluff, it must have been your son, for he 
was lame and could not have saved himself. If he struck 
any one, he could not have killed him ; for evidently he 



MYSTERIOUS FINDINGS 155 

got away, unless he also went over the brink. If he got 
away, he must be found. There is something for you to 
do, Elder Craigmile." 

The old man lifted his head and looked in Bertrand's 
face, pitifully seeking there for help. " You are a good man, 
Mr. Ballard. I need your counsel and help. ,, 

" First, we will go below the rapids and search ; the sooner 
the better, for in the strong current there is no telling how 
far—" 

"Yes, we will search." The Elder lifted himself to his 
full height, inspired by the thought of action. "We'll go 
now." He looked down on his shorter friend, and Bertrand 
looked up to him, his genial face saddened with sympathy, 
yet glowing with kindliness. 

"Wait alittle,Elder ; let us consider further. Mr. Walters 
— sit down, Elder Craigmile, for a moment — Mr. Walters 
is capable, and he can organize the search ; for if you keep 
this from your wife, you must be discreet. Here is some- 
thing I haven't shown you before. It is the charm from 
Richard's watch. It was almost covered with earth where 
they had been struggling, and Mary f ound it. You see there 
is a mystery — and let us hope whatever happened was an 
accident. The evidences are so — so — mingled, that no 
one may know whom to blame." 

The Elder looked down on the charm without touching 
it, as it lay on Bertrand's palm. "That belonged — "his 
lips twitched — "that belonged to the man who took from 
me my twin sister. The shadow — forever the shadow of 
Larry Kildene hangs over me." He was silent for some 
moments, then he said : "Mr. Ballard, if, after the search, 
my son is found to be murdered, I will put a detective on 



156 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



the trail of the man who did the deed, and be he whom he 
may, he shall hang." 

"Hush, Elder Craigmile; in Wisconsin men are not 
hanged." 

"I tell you — be he whom he may — he shall suffer what 
is worse than to be hanged, he shall enter the living grave of 
a life imprisonment." 



CHAPTER XIH 

CONFESSION 

By Monday evening there were only two people in all the 
small town of Leauvite who had not heard of the tragedy, 
and these were Hester Craigmile and Betty Ballard. Mary 
doubted if it was wise to keep Hester thus in ignorance, but 
it was the Elder's wish, and at his request she went to spend 
the evening and if necessary the night with his wife, to fend 
off any officious neighbor, while he personally directed the 
search. 

It was the Elder's firm belief that his son had been mur- 
dered, yet he thought if no traces should be found of Peter 
Junior, he might be able to spare Hester the agony of that 
belief. He preferred her to think her son had gone off in 
anger and would sometime return. He felt himself justified 
in this concealment, fearing that if she knew the truth, she 
might grieve herself into her grave, and his request to Mary 
to help him had been made so pitifully and humbly that 
her heart melted at the sight of the old man's sorrow, and 
she went to spend those weary hours with his wife. 

As the Elder sometimes had meetings of importance to 
take him away of an evening, Hester did not feel surprise 
at his absence, and she accepted Mary's visit as one of 
sweet friendliness and courtesy because of Peter's engage- 
ment to Betty. Nor did she wonder that the visit was made 
without Bertrand, as Mary said he and the Elder had busi- 

157 



158 THE EYE OF DREAD 

ness together, and she thought she would spend the time 
with her friend until their return. 

That was all quite as it should be and very pleasant, and 
Hester filled the moments with cheerful chat, showing Mary 
certain pieces of cloth from which she proposed to make 
dainty garments for Betty, to help Mary with the girl's 
wedding outfit. To Mary it all seemed like a dream as she 
locked the sad secret in her heart and listened. Her friend's 
sorrow over Peter Junior's disagreement with his father 
and his sudden departure from the home was tempered by 
the glad hope that after all the years of anxiety, she was 
some. time to have a daughter to love, and that her boy and 
his wife would live near them, and her home might again 
know the sound of happy children's voices. The sweet 
thoughts brought her gladness and peace of mind, and 
Mary's visit made the dream more sure of ultimate fulfill- 
ment. 

Mary felt the Elder's wish lie upon her with the impera- 
tive force of a law, and she did not dare disregard his re- 
quest that on no account was Hester to be told the truth. 
So she gathered all her fortitude and courage to carry her 
through this ordeal. She examined the fine linen that had 
been brought to Hester years ago from Scotland by 
Richard's mother, and while she praised it she listened for 
steps without ; the heavy tread of men bringing a sorrowful 
and terrible burden. But the minutes wore on, and no such 
sounds came, and the hour grew late. 

"They may have gone out of town. Bertrand said 
something about it, and told me to stay until he called for 
me, if I stayed all night.". Mary tried to laugh over it, and 
Hester seized the thought gayly. 



CONFESSION 1 59 

"We'll go to bed, anyway, and your husband may just go 
home without you when he comes." 

And after a little longer wait they went to bed, and 
Hester slept, but Mary lay wakeful and fearing, until in 
the early morning, while it was yet dark, she heard the 
Elder slowly climb the stairs and go to his room. Then 
she also slept, hoping against hope, that they had found 
nothing. 

Betty's pride and shame had caused her to keep her 
trouble to herself. She knew Richard had gone forever, and 
she dreaded Peter Junior's next visit. What should she 
do ! Oh, what should she do ! Should she tell Peter she 
did not love him, and that all had been a mistake ? She 
must humble herself before him, and what excuse had she 
to make for all the hours she had given him, and the caresses 
she had accepted ? Ah ! If only she could make the last 
week as if it had never been ! She was shamed before her 
mother, who had seen him kiss her. She was ashamed even 
in her own room in the darkness to think of all Peter Junior 
had said to her, and the love he had lavished on her. Ought 
she to break her word to him and beg him to forget ? Ah ! 
Neither he nor she could ever forget. 

Her brothers had been forbidden to tell her a word of 
the reports that were already abroad in the town, and now 
they were both in bed and asleep, and little Janey was 
cuddled in Betty's bed, also in dreamland. At last, when 
neither her father nor her mother returned and she could 
bear her own thoughts no longer, she brought drawing 
materials down from the studio and spread them out on the 
dining room table. 

She had decided she would never marry any one — never. 



160 THE EYE OF DREAD 

How could she ! But she would study in earnest and be an 
illustrator. If women could never become great artists, as 
Peter Junior said, at least they might illustrate books; 
and sometime — maybe — when her heart was not so sad, 
she might write books, and she could illustrate them herself. 
Ah, that would almost make up for what she must go with- 
out all her life. 

For a while she worked painstakingly, but all the time it 
seemed as though she could hear Richard's voice, and the 
words he had said to her Sunday morning kept repeating 
themselves over and over in her mind. Then the tears 
fell one by one and blurred her work, until at last she put 
her head down on her arms and wept. Then the door 
opened very softly and Richard entered. Swiftly he came 
to her and knelt at her side. He put his head on her knee, 
and his whole body shook with tearless sobs he could not 
restrain. He was faint and weak. She could not know 
the whole cause of his grief, and thought he suffered because 
of her. She must comfort him — but alas ! What could 
she say ? How could she comfort him ? 

She put her trembling hand on his head and found the 
hair matted and stiff. Then she saw a wound above his 
temple, and knew he was hurt, and cried out: "You are 
hurt — you are hurt ! Oh, Richard ! Let me do something 
for you." 

He clasped her in his arms, but still did not look up at 
her, and Betty forgot all her shame, and her lessons in pro- 
priety. She lifted his head to her bosom and laid her cheek 
upon his and said all the comforting things that came into 
her heart. She begged him to let her wash his wound and 
to tell her how he came by it. She forgot everything, ex- 



CONFESSION i6r 

cept that she loved him and told him over and over the 
sweet confession. 

At last he found strength to speak to her brokenly. 
"Never love me any more, Betty. I've committed a 
terrible crime — Oh, my God ! And you will hear of it. 
Give me a little milk. I've eaten nothing since yesterday 
morning, when I saw you. Then I'll try to tell you what 
you must know — what all the world will tell you soon." 

He rose and staggered to a chair and she brought him milk 
and bread and meat, but she would not let him talk to her 
until he had allowed her to wash the wound on his head and 
bind it up. As she worked the touch of her hands seemed to 
bring him sane thoughts in spite of the horror of himself 
that possessed him, and he was enabled to speak more 
coherently. 

"If I had not been crazed when I looked through the 
window and saw you crying, Betty, I would never have let 
you see me or touch me again. It's only adding one crime 
to another to come near you. I meant just to look in and 
see if I could catch one glimpse of you, and then was going 
to lose myself to all the world, or else give myself up to be 
hung." Then he was silent, and she began to question him. 

"Don't! Richard. Hung? What have you done? 
What do you mean ? When was it ? " 

"Sunday night." 

"But you had to start for Cheyenne early this morning. 
Where have you been all day ? I thought you were gone 
forever, dear." 

" I hid myself down by the river. I lay there all day, and 
heard them talking, but I couldn't see them nor they me. 
It was a hiding place we knew of when our camp was there 



162 THE EYE OF DREAD 

— Peter Junior and I. He's gone. I did it — I did it with 
murder in my heart — Oh, my God ! " 
*•'■ "Don't, Richard. You must tell me nothing except as 
I ask you. It is not as if we did not love each other. What 
you have done I must help you bear — as — as wives help 
their husbands — for I will never marry ; but all my life 
my heart will be married to yours." He reached for her 
hands and covered them with kisses and moaned. "No, 
Richard, don't. Eat the bread and meat I have brought 
you. You've eaten nothing for two days, and everything 
may seem worse to you than it is." 

"No, no!" 

" Richard, I'll go away from you and leave you here alone 
if you don't eat." 

"Yes, I must eat — not only now — but all the rest of 
my life, I must eat to live and repent. He was my dearest 
friend. I taunted him and said bitter things. I goaded 
him. I was insane with rage and at last so was he. He 
struck me — and — and I — I was trying to push him over 
the bluff— " 

Slowly it dawned on Betty what Richard's talk really 
meant. 

"Not Peter ? Oh, Richard — not Peter ! " She shrank 
from him, wide-eyed in terror. 

"He would have killed me — for I know what was in his 
heart as well as I knew what was in my own — and we were 
both seeing red. I've felt it sometimes in battle, and the 
feeling makes a man drunken. A man will do anything then. 
We'd been always friends — and yet we were drunken with 
hate; and now — he — he is better off than I. I must 
live. Unless for the disgrace to my relatives, I would give 



CONFESSION 163 

myself up to be hanged. It would be better to take the 
punishment than to live in such torture as this." 

The tears coursed fast down Betty's cheeks. Slowly she 
drew nearer him, and bent down to him as he sat, until she 
could look into his eyes. ' ' What were you quarreling about, 
Richard?" 

"Don't ask me, darling Betty." 

"What was it, Richard?" 

"All my life you will be the sweet help to me — the help 
that may keep me from death in life. To carry in my soul 
the remembrance of last night will need all the help God 
will let me have. If I had gone away quietly, you and 
Peter Junior would have been married and have been 
happy — but — " 

"No, no. Oh, Richard, no. I knew in a moment when 
you came — " 

"Yes, Betty, dear, Peter Junior was good and faithful; 
and he might have been able to undo all the harm I had 
done. He could have taught you to love him. I have 
done the devil's work — and then I killed him — Oh, my 
God! My God!" 

' ' How do you know you pushed him over ? He may have 
fallen over. You don't know it. He may have — " 

"Hush, dearest. I did it. When I came to myself, it 
was in the night ; and it must have been late, for the moon 
was set. I could only see faintly that something white 
lay near me. I felt of it, and it was Peter Junior's hat. 
Then I felt all about for him — and he was gone and I 
crawled to the edge of the bluff — but although I knew he 
was gone over there and washed by the terrible current far 
down the river by that time, I couldn't follow him, whether 



164 THE EYE OF DREAD 

from cowardice or weakness. I tried to get on my feet and 
could not. Then I must have fainted again, for all the 
world faded away, and I thought maybe the blow had done 
for me and I might not have to leap over there, after all. I 
could feel myself slipping away. 

"When I awoke, the sun was shining and a bird was sing- 
ing just as if nothing had happened, and I thought I had 
been dreaming an awful dream — but there was the wound 
on my head and I was alive. Then I went farther down the 
river and came back to the hiding place and crept in there 
to wait and think. Then, after a long while, the boys came, 
and I was terrified for fear they were searching for me. 
That is the shameful truth, Betty. I feared. I never knew 
what fear was before. Betty, fear is shameful. There I 
have been all day — waiting — for what, I do not know ; 
but it seemed that if I could only have one little glimpse of 
you I could go bravely and give myself up. I will now — " 

"No, Richard ; it would do no good for you to die such a 
death. It would undo nothing, and change nothing. Peter 
was angry, too, and he struck you, and if he could have his 
way he would not want you to die. I say maybe he is 
living now. He may not have gone over." 

" It's no use, Betty. He went down. I pushed him into 
that terrible river. I did it. I — I — I !" Richard only 
moaned the words in a whisper of despair, and the horror 
of it all began to deepen and crush down upon Betty. She 
retreated, step by step, until she backed against the door 
leading to her chamber, and there she stood gazing at him 
with her hand pressed over her lips to keep herself from 
crying out. Then she saw him rise and turn toward the 
door without looking at her again, his head bowed in grief, 



CONFESSION 165 

and the sight roused her. As the door closed between them 
she ran and threw it open and followed him out into the 
darkness. 

"I can't, Richard. I can't let you go like this !" She 
clung to him, sobbing her heart out on his bosom, and he 
clasped her and held her warm little body close. 

"I'm like a drowning man pulling you under with me. 
Your tears drown me. I would not have entered the house 
if I had not seen you crying. Never cry again for me, 
Betty, never." 

"I will cry. I tell you I will cry. I will. I don't be- 
lieve you are a murderer." 

"You must believe it. I am." 

"I loved Peter Junior and you loved him. You did not 
mean to do it." 

"I did it." 

"If you did it, it is as if I did it, too. We both killed 
him — and I am a murderer, too. It was because of me 
you did it, and if you give yourself up to be hung, I will give 
myself up. Poor Peter — Oh, Richard — I don't believe 
he fell over." For a long moment she sobbed thus. 
"Where are you going, Richard?" she asked, lifting her 
head. 

"I don't know, Betty. I may be taken and can go no- 
where." 

"Yes, you must go — quick — quick — now. Some one 
may come and find you here." 

"No one will find me. Cain was a wanderer over the 
face of the earth." 

"Will you let me know where you are, after you are 
gone?" 



166 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"No, Betty. You must never think of me, nor let me 
darken your life." 

"Then must I live all the rest of the years without even 
knowing where you are ? " 

"Yes, love. Put me out of your life from now on, and it 
will be enough for me that you loved me once." 

"I will help you atone, Richard. I will try to be brave 
— and help Peter's mother to bear it. I will love her for 
Peter and for you." 

"God's blessing on you forever, Betty." He was gone, 
striding away in the darkness, and Betty, with trembling 
steps, entered the house. 

Carefully she removed every sign of his having been there. 
The bowl of water, and the cloth from which she had torn 
strips to bind his head she carried away, and the glass from 
which he had taken his milk, she washed, and even the 
crumbs of bread which had fallen to the floor she picked 
up one by one, so that not a trace remained. Then she took 
her drawing materials back to the studio, and after kneeling 
long at her bedside, and only saying : " God, help Richard, 
help him," over and over, she crept in beside her little 
sister, and still weeping and praying chokingly clasped the 
sleeping child in her arms. 

From that time, it seemed to Bertrand and Mary that a 
strange and subtle change had taken place in their beloved 
little daughter; for which they tried to account as the 
result of the mysterious disappearance of Peter Junior. He 
was not found, and Richard also was gone, and the matter 
after being for a long time the wonder of the village, be- 
came a thing of the past. Only the Elder cherished the 
thought that his son had been murdered, and quietly set a 



CONFESSION 



167 



detective at work to find the guilty man — whom he would 
bring back to vengeance. 

Her parents were forced to acquaint Betty with the sus- 
picious nature of Peter's disappearance, knowing she might 
hear of it soon and be more shocked than if told by them- 
selves. Mary wondered not a little at her dry-eyed and 
silent reception of it, but that was a part of the change in 
Betty. 



BOOK TWO 



CHAPTER XIV 



OUT OF THE DESERT 



"Good horse. Good horse. Good boy. Goldbug — 
go it ! I know you're dying, but so am I. Keep it up a 
little while longer — Good boy." 

The young man encouraged his horse, while half asleep 
from utter weariness and faint with hunger and thirst. 
The poor beast scrambled over the rocks up a steep trail 
that seemed to have been long unused, or indeed it might be 
no trail at all, but only a channel worn by fierce, narrow 
torrents during the rainy season, now sunbaked and dry. 

The fall rains were late this year, and the yellow plains 
below furnished neither food nor drink for either man or 
beast. The herds of buffalo had long since wandered to 
fresher spaces nearer the river beds. The young man's 
flask was empty, and it was twenty-seven hours since either 
he or his horse had tasted anything. Now they had 
reached the mountains he hoped to find water and game if 
he could only hold out a little longer. Up and still up the 
lean horse scrambled with nose to earth and quivering flanks, 
and the young man, leaning forward and clinging to his seat 
as he reeled like one drunken, still murmured words of en- 
couragement. " Good boy — Goldbug, go it. Good horse, 
keep it up." 

168 



OUT OF THE DESERT 169 

All at once the way opened out on a jutting crest and 
made a sharp turn to the right, and the horse paused on the 
verge so suddenly that his rider lost his hold and fell head- 
long over into a scrub oak that caught him and held him 
suspended in its tough and twisted branches above a chasm 
so deep that the buzzards sailed on widespread wings round 
and round in the blue air beneath him. 

He lay there still and white as death, mercifully uncon- 
scious, while an eagle with a wild scream circled about and 
perched on a lightning-blasted tree far above and looked 
down on him. 

For a moment the yellow horse swayed weakly on the 
brink, then feeling himself relieved of his burden, he stif- 
fened himself to a last great effort and held on along the 
path which turned abruptly away from the edge of the cliff 
and broadened out among low bushes and stunted trees. 
Here again the horse paused and stretched his neck and bit 
off the tips of the dry twigs near him, then tinned his head 
and whinnied to call his master, and pricked his ears to 
listen ; but he only heard the scream of the eagle overhead, 
and again he walked on, guided by an instinct as mysterious 
and unerring as the call of conscience to a human soul. 

Good old beast ! He had not much farther to go. Soon 
there was a sound of water in the air — a continuous roar, 
muffled and deep. The path wound upward, then de- 
scended gradually until it led him to an open, grassy space, 
bordered by green trees. Again he tinned his head and 
gave his intelligent call. Why did not his master respond ? 
Why did he linger behind when here was grass and water — 
surely water, for the smell of it was fresh and sweet. But it 
was well he called, for his friendly nicker fell on human ears. 



170 THE EYE OF DREAD 

A man of stalwart frame, well built and spare, hairy and 
grizzled, but ruddy with health, sat in a cabin hidden among 
the trees not forty paces away, and prepared his meal of 
roasting quail suspended over the fire in his chimney and 
potatoes baking in the ashes. 

He lifted his head with a jerk, and swung the quail away 
from the heat, leaving it still suspended, and taking his rifle 
from its pegs stood for a moment in his door listening. For 
months he had not heard the sound of a human voice, nor 
the nicker of any horse other than his own. He called a 
word of greeting, " Hello, stranger !" but receiving no re- 
sponse he ventured farther from his door. 

Goldbug was eagerly grazing — too eagerly for his own 
good. The man recognized the signs of starvation and led 
him to a tree, where he brought him a little water in his own 
great tin dipper. Then he relieved him of saddle and bridle 
and left him tied while he hastily stowed a few hard-tack 
and a flask of whisky in his pocket, and taking a lasso over 
his arm, started up the trail on his own horse. 

" Some poor guy has lost his way and gone over the cliff ," 
he muttered. 

The young man still lay as he had fallen, but now his eyes 
were open and staring at the sky. Had he not been too 
weak to move he would have gone down ; as it was, he 
waited, not knowing if he were dead or in a dream, seeing 
only the blue above him, and hearing only the scream of 
the eagle. 

"Lie still. Don't ye move. Don't ye stir a hair. I'll 
get ye. Still now — still." 

The big man's voice came to him as out of a great chasm, 
scarcely heard for the roaring in his head, although he was 



OUT OF THE DESERT 171 

quite near. His arms hung down and one leg swung free, 
but his body rested easily balanced in the branches. Pres- 
ently he felt something fall lightly across his chest, slip 
down to his hand, and then crawl slowly up his arm to the 
shoulder, where it tightened and gripped. A vague hope 
awoke in him. 

"Now, wait. Til get ye ; don't move. I'll have a noose 
around ye'r leg next, — so." The voice had grown clearer, 
and seemed nearer, but the young man could make no re- 
sponse with his parched throat. 

" Now if I hurt ye a bit, try to stand it." The man carried 
the long loop of his lasso around the cliff and wound it 
securely around another scrub oak, and then began slowly 
and steadily to pull, until the young man moaned with 
pain, — to cry out was impossible. 

" I'll have ye in a minute — I'll have ye — there ! Catch 
at my hand. Poor boy, poor boy, ye can't. Hold on — 
just a little more — there ! " Strong arms reached for him. 
Strong hands gripped his clothing and lifted him from the 
terrible chasm's edge. 

"He's more dead than alive," said the big man, as he 
strove to pour a little whisky between the stranger's set 
teeth. "Well, I'll pack him home and do for him there." 

He lifted his weight easily, and placing him on his horse, 
led the animal to the cabin where he laid him in his own 
bunk. There, with cool water, and whisky carefully ad- 
ministered, the big man restored him enough to know that 
he was conscious. 

"There now, you'll come out of this all right. You've 
got a good body and a good head, young man, — lie by a 
Mttle and I'll give ye some broth." 



i 7 2 THE £YE OF DREAD 

The man took a smaU stone jar from a shelf and putting 
in a little water, took the half-cooked quail from the fire, 
and putting it in the jar set it on the coals among the ashes, 
and covered it. From time to time he lifted the cover and 
stirred it about, sprinkling in a little corn meal, and when the 
steam began to rise with savory odor, he did not wait for it 
to be wholly done, but taking a very little of the broth in a 
tin cup, he cooled it and fed it to his patient drop by drop 
until the young man's eyes looked gratefully into his. 

Then, while the young man dosed, he returned to his own 
uneaten meal, and dined on dried venison and roasted 
potatoes and salt. The big man was a good housekeeper. 
He washed his few utensils and swept the hearth with a 
broom worn almost to the handle. Then he removed the 
jar containing the quail and broth from the embers, and set 
it aside in reserve for his guest. Whenever the young man 
stirred he fed him again with the broth, until at last he 
seemed to sleep naturally. 

Seeing his patient quietly sleeping, the big man went out 
to the starving horse and gave him another taste of water, 
and allowed him to graze a few minutes, then tied him again, 
and returned to the cabin. He stood for a while looking 
down at the pallid face of the sleeping stranger, then he 
lighted his pipe and busied himself about the cabin, return- 
ing from time to time to study the young man's counte- 
nance. His pipe went out. He lighted it again and then sat 
down with his back to the stranger and smoked and gazed 
in the embers. 

The expression of his face was peculiarly gentle as he 
gazed. Perhaps the thought of having rescued a human 
being worked on his spirit kindly, or what not, but something 



OUT OF THE DESERT 173 

brought him a vision of a pale face with soft, dark hair 
waving back from the temples, and large gray eyes looking 
up into his. It came and was gone, and came again, even 
as he summoned it, and he smoked on. One watching him 
might have thought that it was his custom to smoke and 
gaze and dream thus. 

At last he became aware that the stranger was trying to 
speak to him in husky whispers. He turned quickly. 

"Feeling more fit, are you? Well, take another sup of 
broth. Can't let you eat anything solid for a bit, but you 
can have all of the broth now if you want it." 

As he stooped over him the young man's fingers caught 
at his shirt sleeve and pulled him down to listen to his 
whispered words. 

" Pull me out of this — quickly — quickly — there's a — 
party — down the — mountain — dying of thirst. Is this 
Higgins' Camp? I — I — tried to get there for — for 
help." He panted and could say no more. 

The big man whistled softly. "Thought you'd get to 
Higgins' Camp ? You're sixty miles out of the way — or 
more, — twice that, way you've come. You took the wrong 
trail and you've gone forty miles one way when you should 
have gone as far on the other. I did it myself once, and 
never undid it." 

The patient looked hungrily at the tin cup from which he 
had been taking the broth. "Can you give me a little 
more?" 

"Yes, drink it all. It won't hurt ye." 

"I've got to get up. They'll die." He struggled and 
succeeded in lifting himself to his elbow and with the effort 
he spoke more strongly. " May I have another taste of the 



i 7 4 THE EYE OF DREAD 

whisky ? I'm coming stronger now. I left them yester- 
day with all the food — only a bit — and a little water — 
not enough to keep them alive much longer. Yesterday 
— God help them — was it yesterday — or days ago ? " 

The older man had a slow, meditative manner of speech 
as if he had long been in the way of speaking only to him- 
self, unhurried, and at peace. "It's no use your trying to 
think that out, young man, and I can't tell you. Nor you 
won't be able to go for them in a while. No." 

"I must. I must if I die. I don't care if I die — but 
they — I must go." He tried again to raise himself, but 
fell back. Great drops stood out on his forehead and into 
his eyes crept a look of horror. "It's there !" he said, and 
pointed with his finger. 

"What's there, man?" 

" The eye. See ! It's gone. Never mind, it's gone." 
He relaxed, and his face turned gray and his eyes closed for 
a moment, then he said again, "I must go to them." 

"You can't go. You're delirious, man." 

Then the stranger's lips twitched and he almost smiled. 
" Because I saw it ? I saw it watching me. It often is, and 
it's not delirium. I can go. I am quite myself." 

That half smile on the young man's face was reassuring 
and appealing. The big man could not resist it. 

"See here, are you enough yourself to take care of your- 
self, if I leave you and go after them — whoever they are ? " 

"Yes, oh, yes." 

"Will you be prudent — stay right here, eat very spar- 
ingly ? Are they back on the plain ? If so, there is a long 
ride ahead of me, but my horse is fresh. If they are not 
off the trail by which you came, I can reach them." 



OUT OF THE DESERT 175 

" I did not once leave the trail after — there was no other 
way I could take." 

"Would they likely stay right where you left them ?" 

"They couldn't move if they tried. Oh, my God — if 
I were only myself again ! " 

"Never waste words wishing, young man. I'll get them. 
But you must give me your promise to wait here. Will you 
be prudent and wait?" 

"Yes, yes." 

"You'll be stronger before you know it, and then you'll 
want to leave, you know, and go for them yourself. Don't do 
that. I'll give your horse a bit more to eat and drink, and 
tie him again, then there'll be no need for you to leave this 
bunk until to-morrow. I'm to follow the trail you came up 
by, and not leave it until I come to — whoever it is ? Right* 
Do you give me your word, no matter how long gone I may 
be, not to leave my place here until I return, or send?" 

"Oh, yes, yes." 

".Good. I'll trust you. There's a better reason than I 
care to give you for this promise, young man. It's not a 
bad one." 

The big man then made his preparations rapidly, pausing 
now and then to give the stranger instructions as to where 
to find provisions and how to manage there by himself, 
and inquiring carefully as to the party he was to find. He 
packed saddlebags with supplies, and water flasks, and, as 
he moved about, continued to question and admonish. 

"By the time I get back you'll be as well as ever you 
were. A couple of days — and you'll be fuming round 
instead of waiting in patience — that's what I tell you. 
I'll fetch them — do you hear? I'll do it. Now what's 



176 ' THE EYE OF DREAD 

your name ? Harry King ? Harry King — very well, I have 
it. And the party? Father and mother and daughter. 
Family party. I see. Big fools, no doubt. No description 
needed, I guess. Bird ? Name Bird ? No. McBride, — 
very good. Any name with a Mac to it goes on this moun- 
tain — that means me. I'm the mountain. Any one I 
don't want here I pack off down the trail, and vice versa." 

Harry King lay still and heard the big man ride away. 
He heard his own horse stamping and nickering, and heav- 
ing a great sigh of relief his muscles relaxed, and he slept 
soundly on his hard bed. For hours he had fought off this 
terrible languor with a desperation born of terror for those 
he had left behind him, who looked to him as their only 
hope. Now he resigned their fate to the big man whose 
eyes had looked so kindly into his, with a childlike feeling 
of rest and content. He lay thus until the sun rose high 
in the heavens the next morning, when he was awakened 
by the insistant neighing of his horse which had risen almost 
to a cry of fear. 

"Poor beast. Poor beast," he muttered. His vocal 
chords seemed to have stiffened and dried, and his attempt 
to call out to reassure the animal resulted only in a hoarse 
croak. He devoured the meat of the little quail left in the 
jar and drank the few remaining drops of broth, then 
crawled out to look after the needs of his horse before making 
further search for food for himself. He gathered all his 
little strength to hold the frantic creature, maddened with 
hunger, and tethered him where he could graze for half an 
hour, then fetched him water as the big man had done, a 
little at a time in the great dipper. 

After these efforts he rested, sitting in the doorway in 



OUT OF THE DESERT 177 

the sun, and then searched out a meal for himself. The 
big man's larder was well stocked, and although Hany 
King did not appear to be a western man, he was a good 
camper, and could bake a corn dodger or toss a flapjack 
with a fair amount of skill. As he worked, everything 
seemed like a dream to him. The murmuring of the trees 
far up the mountain side, the distant roar of falling water 
that made him feel as if a little way off he might find the 
sea, filled his senses with an impression of unseen forces at 
work all about him, and the peculiar clearness and lightness 
of the atmosphere made him feel as if he were swaying over 
the ground and barely touching his feet to the earth, instead 
of walking. He might indeed be in an enchanted land, were 
it not for his hunger and the reality of his still hungry horse. 

After eating, he again stretched himself on the earth and 
again slept until his horse awakened him. It was well. 
The sun was setting in the golden notch of the hills, and 
once more he set himself to the same task of laboriously 
giving his horse water and tethering him where the grass 
was lush and green, then preparing food for himself, then 
sitting in the doorway and letting the peace of the place 
sink into his soul. 

The horror of his situation when the big man found him 
had made no impression, for he had mercifully been un- 
conscious and too stupefied with weariness to realize it. 
He had even no idea of how he had come to the cabin, or 
from which direction. Inertly he thought over it. A 
trail seemed to lead away to the southwest. He supposed 
he must have come by it, but he had not. It was only the 
path made by his rescuer in going to and fro between his 
garden patch and his cabin. 



178 THE EYE OF DREAD 

In the loneliness and peace of the dusk he looked up and 
saw the dome above filled with stars, and all things were 
so vast and inexplicable that he was minded to pray. 
The longing and the necessity of prayer was upon him, and 
he stood with arms uplifted and eyes fixed on the stars, — 
then his head sank on his breast and he turned slowly into 
the cabin and lay down on the bunk with his hands pressed 
over his eyes, and moaned. Far into the night he lay 
thus, unsleeping, now and again uttering that low moan. 
Toward morning he again slept until far into the day, and 
thus passed the first two days of his stay. 

Strength came to him rapidly as the big man had said, 
and soon he was restlessly searching the short paths all 
about for a way by which he might find the plain below. 
He did not forget the promise which had been exacted from 
him to remain, no matter how long, until the big man's 
return, but he wished to discover whence he might arrive, 
and perhaps journey to meet him on the way. 

The first trail he followed led him to the fall that ever 
roared in his ears. He stood amazed at its height and 
volume, and its wonderful beauty. It lured him and drew 
him again and again to the spot from which he first viewed 
it. Midway of its height he stood where every now and 
then a little stronger breeze carried the fine mist of the fall 
in his face. Behind him lay the garden, ever watered thus 
by the wind-blown spray. Smoothly the water fell over a 
notch worn by its never ceasing motion in what seemed the 
very crest of the mountain far above him. Smoothly it 
fell into the rainbow mists that lost its base in a wonderful 
iridescence of shadows and quivering, never resting lights 
as far below him. 



OUT OF THE DESERT 179 

He caught his breath, and remembered the big man's 
words. "You missed the trail to Higgins* Camp a long 
way back. It's easily done. I did it myself once, and 
never undid it." He could not choose but return over and 
over to that spot. A wonderful ending to a lost trail for a 
lost soul. 

The next path he followed took him to a living spring, 
where the big man was wont to lead his own horse to water, 
and from whence he led the water to his cabin in a small 
flume to always drip and trickle past his door. It was at 
the end of this flume that Harry King had filled the large 
dipper for his horse. Now he went back and washed that 
utensil carefully, and hung it beside the door. 

The next trail he followed led by a bare and more for- 
bidding route to the place where the big man had rescued 
him, and he knew it must be the one by which he had come. 
A sense of what had happened came over him terrifyingly, 
and he shrank from the abyss, his body quivering and his 
head reeling. He would not look down into the blue depth, 
knowing that if he did so, by that way his sanity would 
leave him, but he crawled cautiously around the projecting 
cliff and wandered down the stony trail. Now and again 
he called, "Whoopee! Whoopee!" but only his own 
voice came back to him many times repeated. 

Again and again he called and listened, "Whoopee! 
Whoopee ! " and was regretful at the thought that he did 
not even know the name of the man who had saved him. 
Could he also save the others? The wild trail drew him 
and fascinated him. Each day he followed a little farther, 
and morning and evening he called his lonely cry, "Whoo- 
pee ! Whoopee !" and still was answered by the echo in 



180 THE EYE OF DREAD 

diminuendo of his own voice. He tried to resist the lure 
of that narrow, sun-baked, and stony descent, which he felt 
led to the nethermost hell of hunger and burning thirst, but 
always it seemed to him as if a cry came up for help, and 
if it were not that he knew himself bound by a promise, he 
would have taken his horse and returned to the horror 
below. 

Each evening he reasoned with himself, and repeated the 
big man's words for reassurance: "I'll fetch them, do you 
hear? I'll fetch them," and again: "I'm the mountain. 
Any one I don't want here I pack off down the trail." 
Perhaps he had taken them off to Higgins' Camp instead of 
bringing them back with him — what then ? Harry King 
bowed his head at the thought. Then he understood the 
lure of the trail. What then? Why, then — he would 
follow — follow — follow — until he found again the woman 
for whom he had dared the unknown and to whom he 
had given all but a few drops of water that were needed to 
keep him alive long enough to find more for her. He 
would follow her back into that hell below the heights. 
But how long should he wait ? How long should he trust 
the man to whom he had given his promise ? 

He decided to wait a reasonable time, long enough to 
allow for the big man's going, and slow returning — long 
enough indeed for them to use up all the provisions he had 
packed down to them, and then he would break his promise 
and go. In the meantime he tried to keep himself sane 
by doing what he found to do. He gathered the ripe corn 
in the big man's garden patch and husked it and stored it 
in the shed which was built against the cabin. Then he 
stored the fodder in a sort of stable built of logs, one side of 



OUT OF THE DESERT 181 

which was formed by a huge bowlder, or projecting part of 
the mountain itself, not far from the spring, where evidently 
it had been stored in the past, and where he supposed the 
man kept his horse in winter. He judged the winters must 
be very severe for the care with which this shed was covered 
and the wind holes stopped. And all the time he worked 
each day seemed a month of days, instead of a day of hours. 

At last he felt he was justified in trying to learn the cause 
of the delay at least, and he baked many cakes of yellow 
corn meal and browned them well on the hearth, and 
roasted a side of bacon whole as it was, and packed strips 
of dried venison, and filled his water flask at the spring. 
After a long hunt he found empty bottles which he wrapped 
round with husks and filled also with water. These he 
purposed to hang at the sides of his saddle. He had care- 
fully washed and mended his clothing, and searching among 
the big man's effects, he found a razor, dull and long unused. 
He sharpened and polished and stropped it, and removed 
a vigorous growth of beard from his face, before a little 
framed mirror. To-morrow he would take the trail down 
into the horror from which he had come. 

Now it only remained for him to look well to the good 
yellow horse and sleep one more night in the friendly big 
man's bunk, then up before the sun and go. 

The nights were cold, and he thought he would replenish 
the fire on his hearth, for he always had the feeling that at 
any moment they might come wearily climbing up the 
trail, famished and cold. Any night he might hear the 
<( Halloo " of the big man's voice. In the shed where he had 
piled the husked corn lay wood cut in lengths for the fire- 
place, and taking a pine torch he stooped to collect a few 



182 THE EYE OF DREAD 

sticks, when, by the glare of the light he held, he saw what 
he had never seen in the dim daylight of the windowless 
place. A heavy iron ring lay at his feet, and as he kicked 
at it he discovered that it was attached to something 
covered with earth beneath. 

Impelled by curiosity he thrust the torch between the 
logs and removed the earth, and found a huge bin of hewn 
logs carefully fitted and smoothed on the inside. The cover 
was not fastened, but only held in place by the weight of 
stones and earth piled above it. This bin was half filled 
with finely broken ore, and as he lifted it in his hands yellow 
dust sifted through his fingers. 

Quivering with a strange excitement he delved deeper, 
lifting the precious particles by handfuls, feeling of it, sift- 
ing it between his fingers, and holding the torch close to the 
mass to catch the dull glow of it. For a long time he knelt 
there, wondering at it, dreaming over it, and feeling of it. 
Then he covered it all as he had found it, and taking the 
wood for which he had come, he replenished the fire and 
laid himself down to sleep. 

What was gold to him ? What were all the riches of the 
earth and of the caves of the earth? Only one thought 
absorbed him, — the woman whom he had left waiting for 
him on the burning plain, and a haunting memory that" 
would never leave him — never be stilled. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE BIG MAN'S RETURN 

The night was bitter cold after a day of fierce heat 
Three people climbed the long winding trail from the plains 
beneath, slowly, carefully, and silently. A huge moun- 
taineer walked ahead, leading a lean brown horse. Seated 
on the horse was a woman with long, pale face, and deeply 
sunken dark eyes that looked out from under arched, dark 
brows with a steady gaze that never wandered from some 
point just ahead of her, not as if they perceived anything 
beyond, but more as if they looked backward upon some 
terror. 

Behind them on a sorrel horse — a horse slenderer and 
evidently of better stock than the brown — rode another 
woman, also with dark eyes, now heavy lidded from weari- 
ness, and pale skin, but younger and stronger and more 
alert to the way they were taking. Her face was built on 
different lines: a smooth, delicately modeled oval, wide at 
the temples and level of brow, with heavy dark hair growing 
low over the sides of the forehead, leaving the center high, 
and the arch of the head perfect. Trailing along in the rear 
a small mule followed, bearing a pack. 

Sometimes the big man walking in front looked back and 
spoke a word of encouragement, to which the younger of 
the two women replied in low tones, as if the words were 
spoken under her breath. 

183 



184 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"We'll stop and rest awhile now," he said at last, and led 
the horse to one side, where a level space made it possible 
for them to dismount and stretch themselves on the ground 
to give their weary limbs the needed relaxation. 

The younger woman slipped to the ground and led her 
horse forward to where the elder sat rigidly stiff, declining 
to move. 

"It is better we rest, mother. The kind man asks us." 

"Non, Amalia, non. We go on. It is best that we not 
wait." 

Then the daughter spoke rapidly in their own tongue, 
and the mother bowed her head and allowed herself to be 
lifted from the saddle. Her daughter then unrolled her 
blanket and, speaking still in her own tongue, with diffi- 
culty persuaded her mother to lie down on the mountain 
side, as they were directed, and the girl lay beside her, 
covering her tenderly and pillowing her mother's head on 
her arm. The big man led the animals farther on and sat 
down with his back against a great rock, and waited. 

They lay thus until the mother slept the sleep of ex- 
haustion ; then Amalia rose cautiously, not to awaken her, 
and went over to him. Her teeth chattered with the cold, 
and she drew a little shawl closer across her chest. 

"This is a very hard way — so warm in the day and so 
cold in the night. It is not possible that I sleep. The cold 
drives me to move." 

"You ought to have put part of that blanket over your- 
self. It's going to be a long pull up the mountain, and you 
ought to sleep a little. Walk about a bit to warm yourself 
and then try again to sleep." 

"Yes. I try." 



THE BIG MAN'S RETURN 185 

She turned docilely and walked back and forth, then 
very quietly crept under the blanket beside her mother. 
He watched them a while, and when he deemed she also 
must be sleeping, he removed his coat and gently laid it 
over the girl. By that time darkness had settled heavily 
over the mountain. The horses ceased browsing among 
the chaparral and lay down, and the big man stretched him- 
self for warmth close beside his sorrel horse, on the stony 
ground. Thus in the stillness they all slept; at last, over 
the mountain top the moon rose. 

Higher and higher it crept up in the sky, and the stars 
waned before its brilliant whiteness. The big man roused 
himself then, and looked at the blanket under which the 
two women slept, and with a muttered word of pity began 
gathering weeds and brush with which to build a fire. It 
should be a very small fire, hidden by chaparral from the 
plains below, and would be well stamped out and the charred 
place covered with stones and brush when they left it. 
Soon he had steeped a pot of coffee and fried some bacon, 
then he quickly put out his fire and woke the two women. 
The younger sprang up, and, finding his coat over her, took 
it to him and thanked him with rapid utterance. 

"Oh, you are too kind. I am sorry you have deprive 
yourself of your coat to put it over me. That is why I 
have been so warm." 

The mother rose and shook out her skirt and glanced 
furtively about her. "It is not the morning? It is the 
moon. That is well we go early." She drank the coffee 
hurriedly and scarcely tasted the bacon and hard biscuit. 
"It is no toilet we have here to make. So we go more 
quickly. So is good." 



186 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"But you must eat the food, mother. You will be 
stronger for the long, hard ride. You have not here to 
hurry. No one follows us here." 

"Your father may be already by the camp, Amalia — 
to bring us help — yes. But of those men 'rouge' — if 
they follow and rob us — " 

The two women spoke English out of deference to the big 
man, and only dropped into their own language or into 
fluent French when necessity compelled them, or they 
thought themselves alone. 

"Ah, but those red men, mother, they do not come here, 
so the kind man told us, for now they are also kind. Sit 
here and eat the biscuit. I will ask him." 

She went over to where he stood by the animals, pour- 
ing a very little water from the cans carried by the pack 
mule for each one. "They'll have to hold out on this 
for the day, but they may only have half of it now," he 
said. 

"What shall I do ?" Amalia looked with wide, distressed 
eyes in his face. "She believes it yet, that my father lives 
and has gone to the camp for help. She thinks we go to 
him, — to the camp. How can I tell her ? I cannot — I 
dare not." 

"Let her think what satisfies her most. We can tell her 
as much as is best for her to know, a little at a time, and 
there will be plenty of time to do it in. We'll be snowed up 
on this mountain all winter." The young woman did not 
reply, but stood perfectly still, gazing off into the moonlit 
wilderness. "When people get locoed this way, the only 
thing is to humor them and give them a chance to rest 
satisfied in something — no matter what, much, — only so 



THE BIG MAN'S RETURN 187 

they are not hectored. No mind can get well when it is 
being hectored." 

"Hectored? That is to mean — tortured? Yes, I 
understand. It is that we not suffer the mind to be tor- 
tured ? " 

"About that, yes." 

"Thank you. I try to comfort her. But it is to he to 
her ? It is not a sin, when it is for the healing ? " 

"I'm not authority on that, Miss, but I know lying's a 
blessing sometimes." 

" If I could make her see the marvelous beauty of this way 
we go, but she will not look. Me, I can hardly breathe for 
the wonder — yet — I do not forget my father is dead." 

"I'm starting you off now, because it will not be so hard 
on either you or the horses to travel by night, as long as 
it is light enough to see the way. Then when the sun comes 
ttut hot, we can lie by a bit, as we did yesterday." 

"Then is no fear of the red men we met on the plains ?" 

"They're not likely to follow us up here — not at this 
season, and now the railroad's going through, they're at- 
tracted by that." 

"Do they never come to you, at your home ?" 

"Not often. They think I'm a sort of white 'medicine 
man' — kind of a hoodoo, and leave me alone." 

She looked at him with mystification in her eyes, but did 
not ask what he meant, and returned to her mother. 

"I have eaten. Now we go, is not ?" 

"Yes, mother. The kind man says we go on, and the 
red men will not follow us." 

"Good. I have afraid of the men 'rouge.' Your father 
knows not fear; only I know it." 



188 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Soon they were mounted and traveling up the trail as 
before, the little pack mule following in the rear. No 
breeze stirred to make the frosty air bite more keenly, and 
the women rode in comparative comfort, with their hands 
wrapped in their shawls to keep them warm. They did 
not try to converse, or only uttered a word now and then in 
their own tongue. Amalia's spirit was enrapt in the beauty 
around and above and below her, so that she could not have 
spoken more than the merest word for a reply had she tried. 

The moonlight brought all the immediate surroundings 
into sharp relief , and the distant hills in receding gradations 
seemed to be created out of molten silver touched with 
palest gold. Above, the vault of the heavens was almost 
black, and the stars were few, but clear. Even the stones 
that impeded the horses' feet seemed to be made of silver. 
The depths below them seemed as vast and black as the 
vault above, except for the silver bath of light that touched 
the tops of the gigantic trees at the bottom of the cafion 
around which they were climbing. 

The silence of this vastness was as fraught with mystery 
as the scene, and was broken only by the scrambling of the 
horses over the stones and their heavy breathing. Thus 
throughout the rest of the night they wended steadily up- 
ward, only pausing now and then to allow the animals to 
breathe, and then on. At last a thing occurred to break 
the stillness and strike terror to Amalia's heart. It had 
occurred once the day before when the silence was most 
profound. A piercing cry rent the air, that began in a 
scream of terror and ended in a long-drawn wail of despair. 

Amalia slipped from her horse and stumbled over the 
rough ground to her mother's side and poured forth a stream 



THE BIG MAN'S RETURN 189 

of words in her own tongue, and clasped her arms about the 
rigid form that did not bend toward her, but only sat star- 
ing into the white night as if her eye perceived a sight from 
which she could not turn away. 

" Look at me, mother. Oh, try to make her look at me ! " 
The big man lifted her from the horse, and she relaxed into 
trembling. " There, it is gone now. Walk with me, 
mother ;" and the two walked for a while, holding hands, 
and Amalia talked unceasingly in low, soothing tones. 

After a little time longer the moon paled and the stars 
disappeared, and soon the sky became overspread with the 
changing coloring and the splendor of dawn. Then the 
sun rose out of the glory, but still they kept on their way 
until the heat began to overcome them. Then they halted 
where some pines and high rocks made a shelter, but this 
time the big man did not build a fire. He gave them a little 
coffee which he had saved for them from what he had 
steeped during the night, and they ate and rested, and 
the mother fell quickly into the sleep of exhaustion, as 
before. 

Thus during the middle of the day they rested, Amalia 
and the big man sometimes sleeping and sometimes con- 
versing quietly. 

"I don't know why mother does this. I never knew her 
to until yesterday. Father never used to let her look 
straight ahead of her as she does now. She has always been 
very brave and strong. She has done wonderful things 
— but I was not there. When troubles came on my father, 
I was put in a convent — I know now it was to keep me 
from harm. I did not know then why I was sent away 
from them, for my father was not of the religion of the good 



190 THE EYE OF DREAD 

sisters at the convent, — but now I know — it was to save 



me. 



"Why did troubles come on your father ?" 

"What he did I do not know, but I am very sure it was 
nothing wrong. In my country sometimes men have to 
break the law to do right; my mother has told me so. He 
was in prison a long time when I was living in the convent, 
sheltered and cared for, — and mother — mother was work- 
ing all alone to get him out — all alone suffering." 

"How could they keep you there if she had to work so 
iard?" 

"My father had a friend. He was not of our country, 
and he was most kind and good. I think he was of Scot- 
land — or maybe of Ireland ; I was so little I do not know. 
He saved for my mother some of her money so the govern- 
ment did not get it. I think my mother gave it to him, 
once — before the trouble came. Maybe she knew it 
would come, — anyway, so it was. I do not know if he was 
Irish, or of Scotland — but he must have been a good man." 

"Been? Is he dead?" 

"Yes. It was of a fever he died. My mother told me. 
He gave us his name, and to my father his papers to leave 
our country, for he knew he would die, or my father never 
could have got out of the country. I never saw him but 
once. When I saw you, I thought of him. He was grand 
and good, as are you. My mother came for me at the con- 
vent in Paris, and in the night we went to my father, and 
in the morning we went to the great ship. We said Mc- 
Bride, and all was well. If we had said Manovska when we 
took the ship, we would have been sent back and my father 
would have been killed. In the prison we would have 



THE BIG MAN'S RETURN 191 

died. It was hard to get on the ship, but when we got to 
this country, nobody cared who got off." 

"How long ago was that?" 

"It was at the time of your great war we came. My 
mother wore the dress of our peasant women, and I did the 
same." 

"And were you quite safe in this country ?" 

"For a long time we lived very quietly, and we thought 
we were. But after a time some one came, and father took 
him in, and then others came, and went away again, and 
came again — I don't know why — they did not tell me, — 
but this I know. Some one had a great enmity against my 
father, and at last mother took me in the night to a strange 
place where we knew no one, and then we went to another 
place — and to still another. It was very wearisome." 

"What was your father's business?" 

"My father had no business. He was what you call a 
nobleman. He had very much land, but he was generous 
and gave it nearly all away to his poor people. My father 
was very learned and studied much. He made much 
music — very beautiful — not for money — never for that. 
Only after we came to this country did he so, to live. Once 
he played in a great orchestra. It was then those men found 
him and came so often that he had again to go away and 
hide. I think they brought him papers — very important 
— to be sacredly guarded until a right time should come 
to reveal them." 

"And you have no knowledge why he was followed and 
persecuted?" 

"I was so little at the beginning I do not know. If it 
was that in his religion he was different, — or if he was try- 



i 9 2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

ing to change in the government the laws, — for we are not 
of Russia, — I know that when he gave away his land, the 
other noblemen were very angry with him, and at the court 
— where my father was sent by his people for reasons — 
there was a prince, — I think it was about my mother he 
hated my father so, — but for what — that I never heard. 
But he had my father imprisoned, and there in the prison 
they — What was that word, — hectored ? Yes. In the 
prison they hectored him greatly — so greatly that never 
more was he straight. It was very sad." 

"I don't think we would say hectored, for that. I think 
we would say tortured." 

"Oh, yes. I see. To hector is of the mind, but torture 
is of the body. It is that I mean — for they were very 
terrible to him. My mother was there, and they made her 
look at it to bring him the more quickly to tell for her sake 
what he would not for his own. I think when she looks 
long before her at nothing, she is seeing again the tortures 
of my father, and so she cries out in that terrible way. I 
think so." 

"What were they trying to get out of him ?" 
Amalia looked up in his face with a puzzled expression for 
a moment. " Get — out — of — him ? " she asked. 
"I mean, what did they want him to tell ?" 
"Ah, that I know not. It was never told. If they could 
find him, I think they would try again to learn of him some- 
thing which he only can tell. I think if they could find my 
mother, they would now try to learn from her what my 
father knew, but her lips are like the grave. At that time 
he had told her nothing, but since then — when we were far 
out in the wilderness — I do not know. I hope my mother 



THE BIG MAN'S RETURN 195 

will never be found. Is it a very secret place to which we 
go?" 

"I might call it that — yes. Fve lived there for twenty 
years and no white man has found me yet, until the young 
man, Harry King, was pitched over the edge of eternity 
and only saved by a — well — a chance — likely." 

The young woman gazed at him wide-eyed, and drew in 
her breath. "You saved him." 

"If he obeyed me — I did." 

"And all the twenty years were you alone ?" 

"I always had a horse." 

"But for a companion — had you never one ?" 

"Never." 

"Are you, too, a good man who has done a deed against 
the law of your land ? " 

The big man looked off a moment, then down at her with 
a little smile playing about his lips. "I never did a deed 
against the law of any land that I know of, but as for the 
good part — that's another thing. I may be fairly good as 
goodness goes." 

" Goodnessgoes ! " She repeated after him as if it were 
one word from which she was trying to extract a meaning. 
"Was it then to flee from the wicked world that you lived 
all the twenty years thus alone ?" 

i- "Hardly that, either. To tell the truth, it may be only a 
habit with me." 

"Will you forgive me that I asked ? It was only that to 
me it has been terrible to live always in hiding and fear. I 
love people, and desire greatly to have kind people near me, 
— but of the world where my father and mother lived, and 
at the court — and of the nobles, of all these I am afraid." 



194 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Yes, yes. I fancy you were." A grim look settled 
about his mouth, although his eyes twinkled kindly. He 
marveled to think how trustingly they accompanied him 
into this wilderness — but then — poor babes ! What 
else could they do? "You'll be safe from all the courts 
and nobles in the world for one while where I'm taking 
you." 

"That is why my eyes do not weep for my father. He is 
now gone where none can find him but God. It is very 
terrible that a good man should always hide — hide and 
live in fear — always — even of his own kinsmen. I under- 
stand some of the sorrow of the world." 

"You'll forget it all up there." 

"I will try if my mother recovers." She drew in her 
breath with a little quivering catch. 

"We'll wake her now, and start on. It won't do to 
waste daylight any longer." Secretly he was afraid that 
they might be followed by Indians, and was sorry he had 
made the fire in the night, but he reasoned that he could 
never have brought them on without such refreshment. 
Women are different from men. He could eat raw bacon 
and hard-tack and go without coffee, when necessary, but to 
ask women to do so was quite another thing. 

For long hours now they traveled on, even after the moon 
had set, in the darkness. It was just before the dawn, where 
the trail wound and doubled on itself, that the sorrel horse 
was startled by a small rolling stone that had been loosened 
on the trail above them. Instantly the big man halted 
where they were. 

"Are you brave enough to wait here a bit by your 
mother's horse while I go on ? That stone did not loosen 



THE BIG MAN'S RETURN 195 

itself. It may be nothing but some little beast, — if it 
were a bear, the horses would have made a fuss." 

He mounted the sorrel and went forward, leaving her 
standing on the trail, holding the leading strap of her 
mother's horse, which tossed its head and stepped about 
restlessly, trying to follow. She petted and soothed the 
animal and talked in low tones to her mother. Then with 
beating heart she listened. Two men's voices came down 
to her — one, the big man's — and the other — yes, she 
had heard it before. 

"It is 'Arry King, mother. Surely he has come down to 
meet us," she said joyfully. She would have hurried on, 
but bethought herself she would better wait as she had been 
directed. Soon the big man returned, looking displeased 
and grim. 

"Young chap couldn't wait. He gave me his promise, 
but he didn't keep it." 

"It was 'Any King?" He made no reply, and they 
resumed their way as before. "It was long to wait, and 
nothing to do," she pleaded, divining his mood. 

"I had good reasons, Miss. No matter. I sent him 
back. No need of him here. We'll make it before 
morning now, and he will have the cabin warm and hot 
coffee for us, if you can stand to go on for a goodish long 
pull." 

A goodish long pull it surely was, in the darkness, but the 
women bore up with courage, and their guide led them 
safely. The horse Amalia rode, being his own horse, knew 
the way well. 

"Don't try to guide him; he'll take you quite safely," 
he called back to her. "Let the reins hang." And in the 



i 9 6 THE EYE OF DREAD 

dusk of early morning they safely turned the curve where 
Harry King had fallen, never knowing the danger. 

Harry King, standing in the doorway of the cabin, with 
the firelight bright behind him, saw them winding down the 
trail and hurried forward. They were almost stupefied 
with fatigue. He lifted the mother in his arms without a 
word and carried her into the cabin and laid her in the 
bunk, which he had prepared to receive her. He greeted 
Amalia with a quiet word as the big man led her in, and 
went out to the horses, relieved them of their burdens, and 
led them away to the shed by the spring. Soon the big 
man joined him, and began rubbing down the animals. 

"I will do this. You must rest," said Harry. 

"I need none of your help," he said, not surlily, as the 
words might sound, but colorlessly. 

"I needed yours when I came here — or you saved me and 
brought me here, and now whatever you wish I'll do, but 
for to-night you must take my help. I'm not apologizing 
for what I did, because I thought it right, but — " 

"Peace, man, peace. I've lived a long time with no man 
to gainsay me. I'll take what comes now and thank the 
Lord it's no worse. We'll leave the cabin to the women, 
after I see that they have no fright about it, and we'll sleep 
in the fodder. There have been worse beds." 

"I have coffee on the hearth, hot, and corn dodgers — 
such as we used to make in the army. I've made them 
often before." 

"Turn the beasts free; there isn't room for them all in 
the shed, and I'll go get a bite and join you soon." 

So Harry King did not return to the cabin that night, 
much as he desired to see Amalia again, but lay down on 



THE BIG MAN'S RETURN 



197 



the fodder and tried to sleep. His heart throbbed gladly 
at the thought of her safety. He had not dared to inquire 
after her father. Although he had seen so little of the big 
man he understood his mood, and having received such great 
kindness at his hands, he was truly sorry at the invasion 
of his peace. Undoubtedly he did not like to have a family, 
gathered from the Lord only knew where, thus suddenly 
quartered on him for none knew how long. 

The cabin was only meant for a hermit of a man, and 
little suited to women and their needs. A mixed house- 
hold required more rooms. He tried to think the matter 
out and to plan, but the effort brought drowsiness, and 
before the big man returned he was asleep. 



r 



CHAPTER XVI 

A PECULIAR POSITION 

"Well, young man, we find ourselves in what I call a 
peculiar position." 

A smile that would have been sardonic, were it not for a 
few lines around the corners of his eyes which belied any 
sinister suspicion, spread grimly across the big man's face 
as he stood looking down on Harry King in the dusk of the 
unlighted shed. The younger man rose quickly from the 
fodder where he had slept heavily after the fatigues of 
the past day and night, and stood respectfully looking into 
the big man's face. 

"I — I — realize the situation. I thought about it 
after I turned in here — before you came down — or up 
— to this — ahem — bedroom. I can take myself off, 
sir. And if there were any way — of relieving you of — 
the — whole — embarrassment, — I — I — would do so." 

"Everything's quiet down at the cabin. I've been there 
and looked about a bit. They had need of sleep. You go 
back to your bunk, and I'll take mine, and we'll talk the 
thing over before we see them again. As for your taking 
yourself off, that remains to be seen. I'm not crabbed, — 
that's not the secret of my life alone, — though you might 
think it. I — ahem — ahem." The big man cleared his 
throat and stretched his spare frame full length on the 
fodder where he had slept. With his elbow in the bed of 

198 



A PECULIAR POSITION 199 

corn stalks he lifted his head on his hand and gazed at Harry 
King, not dreamily as when he first saw him, but with covert 
keenness. 

"Lie down in your place — a bit — lie down. We'll 
talk until we've arrived at a conclusion, and it may be a 
long talk, so we may as well take it comfortably." 

Then Harry King went back to his own bunk and lay 
prone, his forehead resting in his folded arms and his face 
hidden. "Very well, sir; I'll do my best. We have to 
accept each other for the best there is in us, I take it. 
You've saved my life and the life of those two women, and 
we all owe you our grat — " 

"Go to, go to. It's not of that I'm wishing to speak. 
Let's begin at the beginning, or, as near the beginning as 
we can. I've been standing here looking at you while 
you were sleeping, — and last night — I mean early this 
morning when I came up here, I — with a torch I studied 
your face well and long. A man betrays his true nature 
when he is sleeping. The lines of what he has been 
thinking and feeling show then when he cannot disguise 
them by smiles or words. I'm old enough to be your 
father — yes — so it might have been — and with your 
permission I'll talk to you straight." 

Harry King lifted his head and looked at the other, then 
resumed his former position. "Thank you," was all he 
said. 

"You've been well bred. You're in trouble. I ask you 
what is your true name and what you have done ? " 

The young man did not speak. He lay still as if he had 
heard nothing, but the other saw his hands clinch into 
knotted fists and the muscles of his arms grow rigid. His 



aoo THE EYE OF DREAD 

heart beat heavily and the blood roared in his ears. At 
last he lifted his head and looked back at the big man and 
spoke monotonously. 

"I gave you my name — all the name I have." His 
face was white in the dim light and the lids drew close over 
his gray eyes. 

"You prefer to lie to me ? I ask in good faith." 

"All the name I have is the one I gave you, Harry King." 

"And you will hold to the lie?" They looked steadily 
into each other's eyes. The young man nodded. "And 
there was more I asked of you." 

Then the young man turned away from the keen eyes 
that had held him and sat up in the fodder and clasped his 
knees with his hands and looked straight out before him, 
regarding nothing — nothing but his own thoughts. A 
strange expression crept over his face, — was it fear — or 
was it an inward terror ? Suddenly he put out his hand 
with a frantic gesture toward the darkest corner of the 
place, "It's there," he cried in a voice scarcely above a 
whisper, then hid his eyes and moaned. At the sight, the 
big man's face softened. 

"Lad, lad, ye're in trouble. I saved your body as it 
hung over the cliff — and the Lord only knows how ye 
were saved. I took ye home and laid ye in my own bunk, 
— and looked on your face — and there my heart cried on 
the Lord for the first time in many years. I had forsworn 
the company of men, and of all women, — and the faith of 
my fathers had died in me, — but there, as I looked on your 
face — the lost years came back. And now — ye're only 
Harry King. Only Harry King." 

"That's all." The young man's lips set tightly and the 



A PECULIAR POSITION 201 

cords of his neck stood out. Nothing was lost to the eyes 
that watched him so intently. 

"I had a son — once. I held him in my arms — for an 
hour — and then left him forever. You have a face that 
reminds me of one — one I hated — and it minds me of 
one I — I — loved, — of one I loved better than I loved 
life." 

Then Harry King tinned and gazed in the big man's 
eyes, and as he gazed, the withdrawn, inward look left his 
own. He still sat clasping his knees. "I can more easily 
tell you what I have done than I can tell you my name. I 
have sworn never to utter it again." He was weeping, 
but he hid his tears for very shame of them. 

The older man shook his head. "IVe known sorrow, 
boy, but the lesson of it, never. Men say there is a thing 
to be learned from sorrow, but to me it has brought only 
rebellion and bitterness. So IVe missed the good of it 
because it came upon me through arrogance and injustice 
— not my own. So now I say to you — if it was at the 
expense of your soul I saved your life, it were better I had 
let you go down. Lad, — you've brought me a softness, — 
it's like what a man feels for a woman. I'm glad it's come 
back to me. It is good to feel. I'd make a son of you, — 
but — for the truth's sake tell me a bit more." 

" I had a friend and I killed him. I was angry and killed 
him. I have left my name in his grave." Harry King 
rose and walked away and stood shivering in the entrance 
of the shed. Then he came back and spoke humbly. "Do 
with me what you will, but call me Harry King. I have 
nothing on earth but the clothes on my body, and they are 
in rags. If you have work for me to do, let me do it, 



202 THE EYE OF DREAD 

in mercy. If not, let me go back to the plains and die 
there/ ' 

"How long ago was this ?" 

"More — more than two years ago — yes, three — 
perhaps." 

"And where have you been ?" 

" Knocking about — hiding. For a while I had work on 
the road they are building — " 

"Road? What road?" 

"The new railroad across the continent." 

"Where, young man, where?" 

"From Chicago on. They got it as far as Cheyenne, but 
that was the very place of all others where they would be 
apt to hunt for me. I got news of a detective hanging about 
the camp, and I was sure he had come there to track me. 
I had my wages and my clothes, and when I found they had 
traced me there, I spent all I had for my horse and took my 
pack and struck out over the plains." He paused and 
wiped the cold drops from his forehead, then lifted his head 
with gathered courage. " One day, — I found these people, 
nigh starving for both water and food, and without strength 
to go where they could be provided for. They, too, were 
refugees, I learned, and so I cast my lot with theirs, and 
served them as best I could." 

"And now they have fallen to the two of us to provide 
for. You say, give you work ? I've lived here these twenty 
years and found work for no man but myself. I've found 
plenty of that — just to keep alive, part of the time. It's 
bad here in the winter — if the stores give out. Tell me 
what you know of these women." 

"Where is the man?" 






A PECULIAR POSITION 203 

"Dead. I found him dead before I reached them. I 
left him lying where I found him, and pushed on — got 
there just in time. He wasn't three hours away from them 
as a man walks. I made them as comfortable as I could 
and saw that no Indians were about, nor had been, they said ; 
so I ventured back and made a grave for him as best I 
could, and told the daughter only, for the old lady seemed 
out of her head. I don't know what we can do with her if 
she gets worse. I don't know." As the big man talked he 
noticed the younger one growing calmer and listening 
intently. 

"Before I buried him I searched him and found a few 
papers — just letters in a strange language, and from the 
feeling of his coat I judged others were hid — sewed in it, 
so I fetched it back to her — the young one. You thought 
I was long gone, and there was where you made the blunder. 
How did you suppose I came by the pack mule and the 
other horse?" 

"When I saw them, I knew you must have gone to Hig- 
gins' Camp and back, but how could I know it before? 
You might have been in need of me, and of food." 

"We'll say no more of it. Those men at the camp are 
beasts. I bought those animals and paid gold for them. 
They wanted to know where I got the gold. I told them 
where they'd never get it. They asked me ten prices for 
those beasts, and then tried to keep me there until they 
could clean me out and get hold of my knowledge. But I 
skipped away in the night when they were all drunk and 
asleep. Then I had to make a long detour to put them off 
the track if they should try to follow me, and all that took 
time." 



204 THE EYE OF DREAD 

The big man paused to fill and light his pipe. "And 
what next ? " asked Harry King. 

" Except for enough food and water to last us up the trail 
you came, I packed nothing back to the wagon, and so had 
room to bring a few of their things up here, and there may 
be some of your own among them — they said something 
about it. We hauled the wagon as far as a good place to 
hide it, in a wash, could be found, and we covered it — 
and our tracks in getting it there. But there was nothing 
left in it but a few of their utensils, unless the box they did 
not open contained something. It was left in the wagon. 
That was the best I could do with only the help of the young 
woman, and she was too weak to do much. It may lie 
there untouched for ten years unless a rain scoops it out, 
and that's not likely. 

"I showed the young woman as we came along where her 
father lay, and as we came to a halt a bit farther on, she 
went back, while her mother slept, and knelt there praying 
for an hour. I doubt any good it did him, but it comforted 
her heart. It's a good religion for a woman, where she does 
not have to think things out for herself, but takes a priest's 
word for it all. And now they're here, and you're here, and 
my home is invaded, and my peace is gone, and may the 
Lord help me — I can't." 

Harry King looked at him a moment in silence. "Nor 
can I — help — but to take myself off." 

"Take yourself off! And leave me alone with two 
women ? I who have forsworn them forever ! How do 
you know but that they may each be possessed by seven 
devils ? But there ! It isn't so bad. As long as they 
stay you'll stay. It was through you they are here, and 



A PECULIAR POSITION 205 

close on to winter, — and if it was summer, it would be as 
bad to send them away where they would have no place 
to stay and no way to live. Lad, the world's hard on 
women. I've seen much. ,, 

Harry King went again and stood in the open entrance of 
the shed and waited. The big man saw that he had suc- 
ceeded in taking the other's mind off himself, and had led 
him to think of others, and now he followed up the ad- 
vantage toward confidence that he had thus gained. He 
also came to the entrance and laid his kindly hand on the 
younger man's shoulder, and there in the pale light of that 
cloudy fall morning, standing in the cool, invigorating air, 
with the sound of falling water in their ears, the two men 
made a compact, and the end was this. 

" Harry King, if you'll be my son, I'll be your father. 
My boy would be about your age — if he lives, — but if he 
does, he has been taught to look down on me — on the 
very thought of me." He cast a wistful glance at the 
young man's face as he spoke. "From the time I held him 
in my arms, a day-old baby, I've never seen him, and it 
may be he has never heard of me. He was in good hands 
and was given over for good reasons, to one who hated my 
name and my race — and me. For love of his mother I 
did this. It was all I could do for her; I would have gone 
down into the grave for her. 

"I, too, have been a wanderer over the face of the earth. 
At first I lived in India — in China — anywhere to be as 
far on the other side of the earth from her grave and my 
boy, as I vowed I would, but I've kept the memory of her 
sweet in my heart. You need not fear I'll ask again for 
your name. Until you choose to give it I will respect 



206 THE EYE OF DREAD 

your wish, — and for the rest — speak of it when you 
must — but not before. I have no more to ask. YouVe 
been well bred, as I said, and that's enough for me. You're 
more than of age — I can see that — but it's my opinion 
you need a father. Will you take me?" 

The young man drew in his breath sharply through 
quivering lips, and made answer with averted head: 
" Cain ! Cain and the curse of Cain ! Can I allow another 
to share it?" 

"Another shares it and you have no choice." 

"I will be more than a son. Sons hurt their fathers and 
accept all from them and give little. You lifted me out of 
the abyss and brought me back to life. You took on your- 
self the burden laid on me, to save those who trusted me, 
knowing nothing of my crime, — and now you drag my 
very soul from hell. I will do more than be your son — I 
will give you the life you saved. Who are you ?" 

Then the big man gave his name, making no reciprocal 
demand. What mattered a name? It was the man, by 
whatever name, he wanted. 

"I am an Irishman by birth, and my name is Larry 
KQdene. If you'll go to a little county not so far from 
Dublin, but to the north, you'll find my people." 

He was looking away toward the top of the mountain 
as he spoke, and was seeing his grandfather's house as he had 
seen it when a boy, and so he did not see the countenance 
of the young man at his side. Had he done so, he would 
not have missed knowing what the young man from that 
moment knew, and from that moment, out of the love now 
awakened in his heart for the big man, carefully concealed, 
giving thanks that he had not told his name. 



A PECULIAR POSITION 



207 



For a long minute they stood thus looking away from 
each other, while Harry King, by a mighty effort, gained 
control of his features, and his voice. Then although white 
to the lips, he spoke quietly: "Harry King — the mur- 
derer — be the son of Larry Kildene — Larry Kildene 
— I — to slink away in the hills — forever to hide — " 

"No more of that. I'll show you a new life. Give me 
your hand, Harry King." And the young man extended 
both hands in a silence through which no words could have 
been heard. 



CHAPTER XVII 

ADOPTING A FAMILY 

As the two men walked down toward the cabin they saw 
Amalia standing beside the door in the sunlight which now 
streamed through a rift in the clouds, gazing up at the 
towering mountain and listening to the falling water. She 
spied them and came swiftly to them, extending both hands 
in a sweet, gracious impulsiveness, and began speaking 
rapidly even before she reached them. 

"Ah ! So beautiful is your home ! It is so much that 
I would say to you of gratitude in my heart — it is like a 
river flowing swiftly to tell you — Ah ! I cannot say it all 
— and we come and intrude ourselves upon you thus that 
you have no place where to go for your own sleeping — 
Is not ? Yes, I know it. So must we think quickly how 
we may unburden you of us — my mother and myself — 
only that she yet is sleeping that strange sleep that seems 
still not like sleep. Let me that I serve you, sir ?" 

Larry Kildene looked on her glowing, upturned face, 
gathering his slower wits for some response to her swift 
speech, while she turned to the younger man, grasping his 
hands in the same manner and not ceasing the flow of her 
utterance. 

"And you, at such severe labor and great danger, have 
found this noble man, and have sent him to us — to you do 
we owe what never can we pay — it is thus while we live 

208 



ADOPTING A FAMILY 209 

must we always thank you in our hearts. And to this 
place — so won-n-der-ful — Ah ! Beautiful like heaven — 
Is not? Yes, and the sweet sound always in the air — 
like heaven and the sound of wings — to stop here even for 
this night is to make those sorrowful thoughts lie still and 
for a while speak nothing." 

As she turned from one to the other, addressing each in 
turn, warm lights flashed in her eyes through tears, like 
stars in a deep pool. Her dark hair rolled back from her 
smooth oval forehead in heavy coils, and over her head and 
knotted under her perfect chin, outlining its curve, was a 
silken peasant handkerchief with a crimson border of the 
richest hue, while about the neck of her colorless, closely 
fitted gown was a piece of exquisite hand-wrought lace. 
She stood before them, a vision from the old world, full of 
innate ladyhood, simple as a peasant, at once appealing 
and dominating, impulsive, yet shy. Her beautiful enun- 
ciation, her inverted and quaintly turned English, alive 
with poetry, was typical of her whole personality, a sweet 
and strange mixture of the high-bred aristocrat and the 
simple directness and strength of the peasant. 

The two men made stumbling and embarrassed replies. 
That tender and beautiful quality of chivalry toward 
women, belonging by nature to undefiled manhood, was 
awakened in them, and as one being, not two, they would 
have laid their all at her feet. This, indeed, they literally 
did. The small, one-room cabin, which had so long served 
for Larry Kildene's palace, was given over entirely to the 
two women, and the men made their own abode in the shed 
where they had slept. 

This they accomplished by creating a new room, by 



210 THE EYE OF DREAD 

extending the roof-covered space Larry had used for his 
stable and the storing of fodder, far enough along under the 
great overhanging rock to allow of comfortable bunks, a 
place to walk about, and a fireplace also. The labor in- 
volved in the making of this room was a boon to Harry 
King. 

Upon the old stone boat which Larry had used for a 
similar purpose he hauled stones gathered from the rock 
ledge and built therewith a chimney, and with the few tools 
in the big man's store he made seats out of hewn logs, and 
a rude table. This work was left to him by the older 
man purposely, while he occupied himself with the gather- 
ing in of the garden stuff for themselves and for the animals. 
A matter that troubled his good heart not a little was that 
of providing for the coming winter enough food supply for 
his suddenly acquired family. Of grain and fodder he 
thought he had enough for animals kept in idleness, as he 
still had stores gathered in previous years for his own horse. 
But for these women, he must not allow them to suffer the 
least privation. 

It was not the question of food alone that disturbed him. 
At last he laid his troubles before Harry King. 

"You know, lad, it won't be so long before the snow will 
be down on us, and I'm thinking what shall we do with them 
when the long winter days set in." He nodded his head 
toward the cabin. "It's already getting too cold for them 
to sit out of doors as they do. I should have windows in 
my cabin — if I could get the glass up here. They can't 
live there in the darkness, with the snow banked around 
them, with nothing to use their fingers on as women like 
to do. Now, if they had cloth or thread — but what use 



ADOPTING A FAMILY 211 

had I for such things ? They're not among my stores. I 
did not lay out to make it a home for women. The mother 
will get farther and farther astray with her dreams if she 
has nothing to do such as women like." 

"I think we should ask them — or ask Amalia, she is 
wise. Have you enough to keep them on — of food ?" 

"Of food, yes. Such as it is. No flour, but plenty of 
good wheat and corn. I always pound it up and bake it, 
but it is coarse fare for women. There's plenty of game for 
the hunting, and easy got, but it's something to think about 
we'll need, else we'll all go loony." 

"You have lived long here alone and seem sound of mind, 
— except for — " Harry King smiled, "except for a certain 
unworldliness that would pass for lunacy in the world be- 
low these heights." 

"Let alone, son. I've usually had my own way for these 
years and have formed the habit, but I've had my times. 
At the best it's a sort of lunacy that takes a man away from 
his fellows, especially an Irishman. Maybe you'll discover 
for yourself before we part — but it's not to the point now. 
I'm asking you how we can keep the mother from brooding 
and the daughter happy ? She's asking to be sent away to 
earn money for her mother. She thinks she can take her 
mother with her to the nearest place on that new railroad 
you tell me of, and so on to some town. I tell her, no. And 
if she goes, and leaves her mother here — bless you — what 
would we do with her ? Why, the woman would go yonder 
and jump over the cliff." 

"Oh, it would never do to listen to her. It would never 
do for her to try living in a city earning her bread — not 
while — " Harry King paused and turned a white, drawn 



2i2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

face toward the mountain. Larry watched him. "I can 
do nothing." He threw out his hands with a sudden 
downward movement. "I, a criminal in hiding! My 
manhood is of no avail ! My God ! " 

"Remember, lad, the women have need of you right here. 
I'm keeping you on this mountain at my valuation, not 
yours. I have need of you, and your past is not to intrude 
in this place, and when you go out in the world again, as 
you will, when the right time comes, you'll know how to 
meet — and face — your life — or death, as a man should. 

"Hold yourself with a firm hand, and do the work of the 
days as they come. It's all the Lord gives us to do at any 
time. If I only had books — now, — they would help us, 
— but where to get them — or how ? We'll even go and 
ask the women, as you advise." 

They all ate together in the little cabin, as was their 
habit, a meal prepared by Amalia, and carefully set out 
with all the dishes the cabin afforded : so few that there 
were not enough to serve all at once, but eked out by 
wooden blocks, and small lace serviettes taken from Ama- 
lia's store of linen. At noon one day Larry Kildene spoke 
his anxieties for their welfare, and cleverly managed to 
make the theme a gay one. 

"Where's the use in adopting a family if you don't get 
society out of them? The question I ask is, when the 
winter shuts us in, what are we going to do for sport — 
work — what you will ? It's indoor sport I'm meaning, for 
Harry and I have the hunting and providing in the daytime. 
No, never you ask me what I was doing before you came. 
I was my own master then — " 

"And now you are ours? That is good, Sir Kildene. 



ADOPTING A FAMILY 213 

You have to say what to do, and me, I accept to do what 
you advise. Is not ? " 

Amalia turned to Larry and smiled, and whenever 
Amalia smiled, her mother would smile also, and nod her 
head as if to approve, although she usually sat in silence. 

"Yours to command," said Larry, bowing. 

"He's master of us all, but it's yours to direct, Lady 
Amalia." 

"Oh, me, Mr. 'Arry. It is better for me I make for you 
both sufficient to eat, so all goes well. I think I have heard 
men are always pleased of much that is excellent to eat and 
drink." 

"Now, listen. We have only a short time before the 
heavy snows will come down on us, and then there will be 
no chance whatever to get supplies of any sort before spring. 
How far is the road completed now, Harry ?" 

"It should be well past Cheyenne by now. They must 
be working toward Laramie rapidly. If — if — you think 
best, I will go down and get supplies — whatever can be 
found there." 

" No. I have a plan. There's enough for one man to do 
here finishing the jobs I have laid out, but one of us can 
very well be spared, and as you have wakened me from my 
long sleep, and stirred my old bones to life, and as I know 
best how to travel in this region, I'll take the mule along, 
and go myself. I have a fancy for traveling by rail again. 
You ladies make out a list of all you need, and I'll fill the 
order, in so far as the stations have the articles. If I can't 
find the right things at one station, I may at another, even 
if I go back East for them." 

"Ah, but, Sir Kildene, it is that we have no money. If 



214 THE EYE OF DREAD 

but we could get from the wagon the great box, there have 
we enough of things to give us labor for all the winter. It 
is the lovely lace I make. A little of the thread I have here, 
but not sufficient for long. So, too, there is my father's 
violin. It made me much heart pain to leave it — for me, 
I play a little, — and there is also of cloth such as men wear 

— not of great quantity — but enough that I can make for 
you — something — a little — maybe, Mr. 'Arry he like 
well some good shirt of wool — as we make for our peasant 

— Is not?" Harry looked down on his worn gray shirt 
sleeves, then into her eyes, and on the instant his own fell. 
She took it for simple embarrassment, and spoke on. 

"Yes. To go with us and help us so long and terrible a 
way, it has made very torn your apparel." 

"It makes that we improve him, could we obtain the 
box," said the mother, speaking for the first time that day. 
Her voice was so deep and full that it was almost masculine, 
but her modulations were refined and most agreeable. 

Amalia laughed for very gladness that her mother at last 
showed enough interest in what was being said to speak. 

"Ah, mamma, to improve — it is to make better the 
mind — the heart — but of this has Mr. 'Arry no need. Is 
not, Sir Kildene ? I call you always Sir as title to nobleness 
of character. We have, in our country, to inherit title, 
but here to make it of such character. It is well, I think 



so." 



Poor Larry Kildene had his own moment of embarrass- 
ment, but with her swift appreciation of their moods she 
talked rapidly on, leaving the compliment to fall as it would, 
and turning their thoughts to the subject in hand. "But 
the box, mamma, it is heavy, and it is far down on the 



ADOPTING A FAMILY 215 

terrible plain. If that you should try to obtain it, Sir 
Kildene : Ah, I cannot ! — Even to think of the peril is 
a hurt in my heart. It must even lie there." 

"And the men 'rouge* — " 

"Yes. Of the red men — those Indian — of them I have 
great fear." 

"The danger from them is past, now. If the road is 
beyond Cheyenne, it must have reached Laramie or nearly 
so, and they would hang around the stations, picking up 
what they can, but the government has them in hand as 
never before. They would not dare interfere with white 
men anywhere near the road. I've dreamed of a railroad 
to connect the two oceans, but never expected to see it in 
my lifetime. I've taken a notion to go and see it — just 
to look at it, — to try to be reconciled to it." 

"Reconciled ? It is to like it, you mean — Sir Kildene? 
Is it not won-n-derful — the achievement ? " 

" Oh, yes, the achievement, as you say. But other things 
will follow, and the plains will no longer keep men at bay. 
The money grabbers will pour in, and all the scum of crea- 
tion will flock toward the setting sun. Then, too, I 
shall hate to see the wild animals that have their own rights 
killed in unsportsmanlike manner, and annihilated, as they 
are wherever men can easily reach them. Men are wasteful 
and bad. I've seen things in the wild places of the earth — 
and in the places where men flock together in hoards — 
and where they think they are most civilized, and the result 
has been what you see here, — a man living alone with a 
horse for companionship, and the voice of the winds and the 
falling water to fill his soul. Go to. Go to." 

Larry Kildene rose and stood a moment in the cabin door, 



216 THE EYE OF DREAD 

then sauntered out in the sun, and off toward the fall. He 
had need to think a while alone. His companions knew 
this necessity was on him, and said nothing — only looked 
at each other, and took up the question of their needs for the 
winter. 

"Mr. 'Any, is it possible to reach with safety a station ? 
I mean is time yet to go and return before the snows? 
Here aire no deadly wolves as in my own country — but is 
much else to make dangerous the way." 

" There must be time or he would not propose it. I don't 
know about the snows here." 

"I have seen that Sir Kildene drinks with most pleasure 
the coffee, but is little left — or not enough for all — to 
drink it. My mother and I we drink with more pleasure 
the tea, and of tea we ourselves have a little. It is possible 
also I make of things more palatable if I have the sugar, but 
is very little here. I have searched well, the foods placed 
here. Is it that Sir Kildene has other places where are such 
articles ?" 

" All he has is in the bins against the wall yonder." 

" Here is the key he gave me, and I have look well, but 
is not enough to last but for one through all the months of 
winter. Ah, poor man ! We have come and eat his food 
like the wolves of the wild country at home, is not ? I 
have make each day of the coffee for him, yes, a good drink, 
and for you not so good — forgive, — but for me and my 
mother, only to pretend, that it might last for him. It is 
right so. We have gone without more than to have no 
coffee, and this is not privation. To have too much is bad 
for the soul." 

Amalia's mother seemed to have withdrawn herself from 



ADOPTING A FAMILY 217 

them and sat gazing into the smoking logs, apparently not 
hearing their conversation. Harry King for the second 
time that day looked in Amalia's eyes. It was a moment 
of forgetfulness. He had forbidden himself this privilege 
except when courtesy demanded. 

" You forgive — that I put — little coffee in your drink ? " 

1 ' Forgive ? Forgive ? ' ' 

He murmured questioningly as if he hardly comprehended 
her meaning, as indeed he did not. His mind was going 
over the days since first he saw her, toiling to gather enough 
sagebrush to cook a drop of tea for her father, and striving 
to conceal from him that she, herself, was taking none, and 
barely tasting her hard biscuit that there might be enough 
to keep life in her parents. As she sat before him now, in 
her worn, mended, dark dress with the wonderful lace at 
the throat, and her thin hands lying on the crimson-bor- 
dered kerchief in her lap, — her fingers playing with the 
fringe, he still looked in her eyes and murmured, " Forgive ? " 

"Ah, Mr. 'Arry, your mind is sleeping and has gone to 
dream. Listen to me. If one goes to the plain, quickly 
he must go. I make with haste this naming of things to eat. 
It is sad we must always eat — eat. In heaven maybe is 
not so." She wandered a moment about the cabin, then 
laughed for the second time. "Is no paper on which to 
write. ,, 

"There is no need of paper ; he'll remember. Just men- 
tion them over. Coffee, — is there any tea beside that 
you have?" 

"No, but no need. I name it not." 

" Tea is light and easily brought. What else ? " 

"And paper. I ask for that but for me to write my little 



218 THE EYE OF DREAD 

romance of all this — forgive — it is for occupation in the 
long winter. You also must write of your experiences — 
perhaps — of your history of — of — You like it not? 
Why, Mr. 'Arry ! It is to make work for the mind. The 
mind must work — work — or die. The hands — well. I 
make lace with the hands — but for the mind is music — 
or the books — but here are no books — good — we make 
them. So, paper I ask, and of crayon — Alas ! It is in 
the box! What to do?" 

" Listen. We'll have that box, and bring it here on the 
mountain. I'll get it." 

" Ah, no ! No. Will you break my heart ? " She seized 
his arm and looked in his eyes, her own brimming with tears. 
Then she flung up her arms in her dramatic way, and covered 
her eyes. "I can see it all so terrible. If you should go 
there and the Indian strike you dead — or the snow come too 
soon and kill you with the cold — in the great drift lying 
white — all the terrible hours never to see you again — 
Ah, no!" 

In that instant his heart leaped toward her and the blood 
roared in his ears. He would have clasped her to him, but 
he only stood rigidly still. " Hands off, murderer !" The 
words seemed shouted at him by his own conscience. "I 
would rather die — than that you should not have your 
box," was all he said, and left the cabin. He, too, had need 
to think things out alone. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

LARRY KILDENE'S STORY 

"Man, but this is none so bad — none so bad." 
Larry Kildene sat on a bench before a roaring fire in the 
room added on to the fodder shed. The chimney which 
Harry King had built, although not quite completed to its 
full height, was being tried for the first time, as the night 
was too cold for comfort in the long, low shed without fire, 
and the men had come down early this evening to talk over 
their plans before Larry should start down the mountain 
in the morning. They had heaped logs on the women's 
fire and seen that all was right for them, and with cheerful 
good-nights had left them to themselves. 

Now, as they sat by their own fire, Harry could see 
Amalia by hers, seated on a low bench of stone, close to the 
blazing torch of pine, so placed that its smoke would be 
drawn up the large chimney. It was all the light they had 
for their work in the evenings, other than the firelight. He 
could see her fingers moving rapidly and mechanically at 
some pretty open-work pattern, and now and then grasping 
deftly at the ball of fine white thread that seemed to be 
ever taking little leaps, and trying to roll into the fire, 
or out over the cabin floor. She used a fine, slender 
needle and seemed to be performing some delicate magic 
with her fingers. Was she one of the three fates con- 
tinually drawing out the thread of his life and weaving 

219 



220 THE EYE OF DREAD 

therewith a charmed web ? And if so — when would she 
cease ? 

"It's a good job and draws well." 

"The chimney ? Yes, it seems to." Harry roused him- 
self and tried to close his mind against the warm, glowing 
picture. "Yes — yes. It draws well. I'm inclined to be 
a bit proud, although I never could have done it if you had 
not given me the lessons." 

" It's art, my boy. To build a good fireplace is just that. 
Did you ever think that the whole world — and the welfare 
of it — centers just around that ; — the fireplace and the 
hearth — or what stands for it in these days — maybe a 
little hole in the wall with a smudge of coal in it, as they 
have in the towns — but it's the hearth and the cradle be- 
side it — and — the mother." 

Larry's voice died almost to a whisper, and his chin 
dropped on his breast, and his eyes gazed on the burning 
logs ; and Harry, sitting beside him, gazed also at the same 
logs, but the pictures wrought in the alchemy of their souls 
were very different. 

To Harry it was a sweet, oval face — a flush from the 
heat of the fire more on the smooth cheek that was toward 
it than on the other, and warm flame flashes in the large 
eyes that looked up at him from time to time, while the 
slender figure bent a little forward to see the better, as the 
wonderful hands kept up the never ceasing motion. A 
white linen cloth spread over her lap cast a clearer, more 
rosy light under her chin and brought out the strength of 
it and the delicate curves of it, which Harry longed even to 
dare to look upon in the rarest stolen intervals, without 
the clamor and outcry in his heart. It was always the same 



LARRY KILDENE'S STORY 221 

— the cry of Cain in the wilderness. Would God it might 
some day cease ! What to him might be the hearth fire 
and the cradle, and the mother, that the big man should 
dwell on them thus? What had they meant in Larry 
Kildene's life, he who had lived for twenty years the life 
of a hermit, and had forsworn women forever, as he said ? 

"I tell ye, lad, there's a thing I would say to you — be- 
fore I leave, but it's sore to touch upon." Harry made a 
deprecating gesture. "No, it's best I tell you. I — I'll 
come back — never fear — it's my plan to come back, but 
in this life you may count on nothing for a surety. I've 
learned that, and to prove it, look at me. I made sure, 
never would I open my heart again to think on my fellow 
beings, but as aliens to my life, and I've lived it out for 
twenty years, and thought to hold out to the end. I held 
the Indians at bay through their superstitions, and they 
would no more dare to cross my path with hostile intent 
than they would dare take their chances over that fall above 
there. Where did I put my pipe ? I can't seem to find 
things as I did in the cabin. 

"Here it is, sir. I placed that stone further out at the 
end of the chimney on purpose for it, and in this side I've 
left a hole for your tobacco. I thought I was very clever 
doing that." 

"And we'd be fine and cozy here in the winter — if it 
wer'n't for the women — a — a — now I'm blundering. 
I'd never turn them out if they lived there the rest of their 
days. But to have a lad beside me as I might have had 
— if you'd said, 'Here it is, father,' but now, it would have 
have been music to me. You see, Harry, I forswore the 
women harder than I did the men, and it's the longing for 



222 THE EYE OF DREAD 

the son I held in my arms an hour and then gave up, that 
has lived in me all these years. The mother — gone — 
The son I might have had." 

"I can't say that — to you. I have a curse on me, and 
it will stay until I have paid for my crime. But I'll be 
more to you than sons are to their fathers. I'll be faithful 
to you as a dog to his master, and love you more. I'll 
live for you even with the curse on me, and if need be, I'll 
die for you." 

"It's enough. I'll ask you no more. Have you no cu- 
riosity to hear what I have to tell you ?" 

"I have, indeed I have. But it seems I can't ask it — 
unless I'm able to return your confidence. To talk of my 
sorrow only deepens it. It drives me wild." 

"You'll have it yet to learn, that nothing helps a sorrow 
that can't be helped like bearing it. I don't mean to lie 
down under it like a dumb beast — but just take it up and 
bear it. That's what you're doing now, and sometime 
you'll be able to carry it, and still laugh now and again, 
when it's right to laugh — and even jest, on occasion. It's 
been done and done well. It's good for a man to do it. 
The lass down there at the cabin is doing it — and the 
mother is not. She's living in the past. Maybe she can't 
help it." 

"When I first came on them out there in the desert, she 
seemed brave and strong. He was a poor, crippled man, 
with enormous vitality and a leonine head. The two women 
adored him and lived only for him, and he never knew it. 
He lived for an ideal and would have died for it. He did 
not speak English as well as they. I used to wish I could 
understand him, for he had a poet's soul, and eyes like his 



LARRY KILDENE'S STORY 223 

daughter's. He seemed to carry some secret with him, and 
no doubt was followed about the world as he thought he was. 
Fleeing myself, I could not know, but from things the 
mother has dropped, they must have seen terrible times 
together, she and her husband." 

"A wonderful deal of poetry and romance always clung 
to the names of Poland and Hungary for me. When I was 
young, our part of the world thrilled at the name of Kos- 
ciuszko and Kossuth. I'd give a good deal to know what 
this man's secret was. All those old tales of mystery, like 
'The Man with the Iron Mask,' and stories of noblemen 
spirited away to Siberia, of men locked for many years in 
dungeons, like the 'Prisoner of Chillon,' which fired the 
fancy and genius of Byron and sent him to fight for the 
oppressed, used to fill my dreams." Larry talked on as if 
to himself. It seemed as if it were a habit formed when he 
had only himself with whom to visit, and Harry was in- 
terested. 

"Now, to almost come upon a man of real ideals and a 
secret, — and just miss it. I ought to have been out in 
the world doing some work worth while — with my miser- 
able, broken life — Boy ! I knew that man McBride ! 
I knew him for sure. We were in college together. He 
left Oxford to go to Russia, wild with the spirit of adventure 
and something more. He was a dreamer — with a practi- 
cal turn, too. There, no doubt, he met these people. I 
judge this Manovska must have been in the diplomatic 
service of Poland, from what Amalia told us. Have you 
any idea whether that woman sitting there all day long rapt 
in her own thoughts knows her husband's secret ? Is it a 
thing any one now living would care to know ?" 



224 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Indeed, yes. They lived in terror of the prince who 
hounded him over the world. The mother trusted no one, 
but Amalia told me — enough — all she knows herself. 
I don't know if the mother has the secret or not, but at 
least she guesses it. The poor man was trying to live until 
he could impart his knowledge to the right ones to bring 

i 

about an upheaval that would astonish the world. It 
meant revolution, whatever it was. Amalia imagines it 
was to place a Polish king on the throne of Russia, but she 
does not know. She told me of stolen records of a Polish 
descendant of Catherine II of Russia. She thinks they 
were brought to her father after he came to this country." 

"If he had such knowledge or even thought he had, it 
was enough to set them on his track all his life ; the wonder 
is that he was let to live at all." 

"The mother never mentioned it, but Amalia told me. 
We talked more freely out in the desert. That remarkable 
woman walked at her husband's side over all the terrible 
miles to Siberia, and through her he escaped, — and of the 
horrors of those years she never would speak, even to her 
daughter. It's not to be wondered at that her mind is 
astray. It's only a wonder that she is for the most part so 
calm." 

"Well, the grave holds many a mystery, and what a 
fascination a mystery has for humanity, savage or civi- 
lized ! I've kept the Indians at bay all this time by that 
means. They fear — they know not what, and the mystery 
holds them. Now, for ourselves, I leave you for a little 
while in charge of — the women — and of all my posses- 
sions." Larry, gazing into the blazing logs, smiled. "You 
may not think so much of them, but it's not so little now. 



LARRY KILDENE'S STORY 225 

Talk about lunacy — man, I understand it. I've been 
a lunatic — for — ever since I made a find here in this 
mountain." 

He paused and mused a while, and Harry's thoughts 
dwelt for the time on his own find in the wing of the cabin, 
where the firewood was stored. The ring and the chest 
— he had not forgotten them, but by no means would he 
mention them. 

"You may wonder why I should tell you this, but when 
I'm through, you'll know. It all came about because of a 
woman." Larry Kildene cast a sidelong glance at Harry, 
and the glance was keen and saw more than the younger 
man dreamed. "It's more often so than any other way — 
almost always because of a woman. Her name may be any- 
thing — Mary — Elizabeth, — but, a woman. This one's 
name was Katherine. Not like the Katherine of Shake- 
speare, but the sweetest — the tenderest mother-woman the 
Lord ever gave to man. I see her there in the fire. I've 
seen her there these many years. Well, she was twin 
sister to the man who hated me. He hated me — for why, 
I don't know — perhaps because he never could influence 
me. He would make all who cared for him bow before 
his will. 

"When I first saw her, she lived in his home. He was a 
banker of means, — not wholly of his own getting, but 
partly so. His father was a man of thrift and saving — 
anyway, he came to set too much store by money. Some- 
times I think he might have been jealous of me because I 
had the Oxford training, and wished me to feel that wealth 
was a greater thing to have. Scotchmen think more of 
education than we of Ireland. It's a good thing, of course, 



226 THE EYE OF DREAD 

but I'd never have looked down on him because he went 
lacking it. But for some indiscretion maybe I would have 
had money, too. It was spent too lavishly on me in my 
youth. But no. I had none — only the experience and 
the knowledge of what it might bring. 

"Well, it came about that I came to America to gain the 
money I lacked, and having learned a bit, in spite of Oxford 
and the schools, of a practical nature, I took a position in 
his bank. All was very well until I met her. Now there 
were the rosy cheeks and the dark hair for you ! She looked 
more like an Irish lass than a Scotch one. But they're not 
so different, only that the Irish are for the most part come- 
lier. 

"Now this banker had a very sweet wife, and she was 
kind to the Irish lad and welcomed him to her house. I'm 
thinking she liked me a bit — I liked her at all events. She 
welcomed me to her house until she was forbid. It was 
after they forbid me the house that I took to walking with 
Katherine, when all thought she was at Sunday School or 
visiting a nieghbor, or even — at the last — when no other 
time could be stolen — when they thought her in bed. We 
walked there by the river that flows by the town of Leau- 
vite." 

Again Larry Kildene paused and shot a swift glance at 
the young man at his side, and noted the drawn lids and 
blanched face, but he kept on. "In the moonlight we 
walked — lad — the ground there is holy now, because she 
walked upon it. We used to go to a high bluff that made a 
sheer fall to the river below — and there we used to stand 
and tell each other — things we dreamed — of the life we 
should live together — Ah, that life ! She has spent it in 



LARRY KILDENE'S STORY 227 

heaven. I — I — have spent the most of it here." He 
did not look at Harry King again. His voice shook, but 
he continued. "After a time her brother got to know 
about it, and he turned me from the bank, and sent her to 
live with his father's sisters in Scotland. 

"Kind old ladies, but unmarried, and too old for such a 
lass. How could they know the heart of a girl who loved a 
man? It was I who knew that. What did her brother 
know — her own twin brother? Nothing, because he 
could see only his own thoughts, never hers, and thought 
his thoughts were enough for wife or girl. I tell you, lad, 
men err greatly in that, and right there many of the troubles 
of life step in. The old man, her father, had left all his 
money to his son, but with the injunction that she was to be 
provided for, all her days, of his bounty. It's a mean way 
to treat a woman — because — see ? She has no right to 
her thoughts, and her heart is his to dispose of where he wills 
— not as she wills — and then comes the trouble. 

"I ask you, lad, if you loved a girl as fine as silk and as 
tender as a flower you could crush in your hand with a 
touch ungentle, and you saw one holding her with that sort 
of a touch, — even if it was meant in love, — I'll not be un- 
just, he loved her as few love their sisters — but he could 
not grasp her thus ; I ask you what would you do ? " 

"If I were a true man, and had a right to my manhood, 
I would take her. I'd follow her to the ends of the earth." 

"Right, my son — I did that. I took the little money 
I had from my labor at the bank — all I had saved, and I 
went bravely to those two old women — her aunts, and 
they turned me from their door. It was what they had 
been enjoined to do. They said I was after the money and 



228 THE EYE OF DREAD 

without conscience or thrift. With the Scotch, often, the 
confusion is natural between thrift and conscience. Ah, 
don't I know ! If a man is prosperous, he may hold out his 
hand to a maid and say 'Come/ and all her relatives will 
cry l Go/ and the marriage bells will ring. If he is a happy 
Irishman with a shrunken purse, let his heart be loving and 
true and open as the day, they will spurn him forth. For 
food and raiment will they sell a soul, and for household 
gear will they clip the wings of the little god, and set him 
out in the cold. 

"But the arrow had entered Katherine's heart, and I 
knew and bided my time. They saw no more of me, but 
I knew all her goings and comings. I found her one day on 
the moor, with her collie, and her cheeks had lost their 
color, and her gray eyes looked in my face with their tears 
held back, like twin lakes under a cloud before a storm falls. 
I took her in my arms, and we kissed. The collie looked on 
and wagged his tail. It was all the approval we ever got 
from the family, but he was a knowing dog. 

"Well, then we walked hand in hand to a village, and it 
was near nightfall, and we went straight to a magistrate 
and were married. I had a little coin with me, and we 
stayed all night at an inn. There was a great hurrying 
and scurrying all night over the moors for her, but we knew 
naught of it, for we lay sleeping in each other's arms as 
care free and happy as birds. If she wept a little, I com- 
forted her. In the morning we went to the great house 
where the aunts lived in the town, and there, with her hand 
in mine, I told them, and the storm broke. It was the dis- 
grace of having been married clandestinely by a magistrate 
that cut them most to the heart ; and yet, what did they 



LARRY KILDENE'S STORY 229 

think a man would do ? And they cried upon her : ' We 
trusted you. We trusted you/ And all the reply she 
made was : ' You thought I'd never dare, but I love him/ 
Yes, love makes a woman's heart strong. 

"Well, then, nothing would do, but they must have in the 
minister and see us properly married. After that we stayed 
never a night in their house, but I took her to Ireland to 
my grandfather's home. It was a terrible year in Ireland, 
for the poverty was great, and while my grandfather was 
well-to-do, as far as that means in Ireland, it was very little 
they had that year for helping the poor." Larry Kildene 
glanced no more at Harry King, but looked only in the fire, 
where the logs had fallen in a glowing heap. His pipe was 
out, but he still held it in his hand. 

" It was little I could do. I had my education, and could 
repeat poems and read Latin, but that would not feed 
hungry peasant children. I went out on the land and 
labored with the men, and gave of my little patrimony to 
keep the old folks, but it was too small for them all, so at 
last I yielded to Katherine's importunities, and she wrote 
to her brother for help — not for her and me, mind you. 

"It was for the poor in Ireland she wrote, and she let 
me read it. It was a sweet letter, asking forgiveness for 
her willfulness, yet saying she must even do the same thing 
again if it were to do over again. She pleaded only for the 
starving in the name of Christ. She asked only if a little 
of that portion which should be hers might be sent her, 
and that because he was her only brother and twin, and 
like part of her very self — she turned it so lovingly — I 
never could tell you with what skill — but she had the way 
— yes. But what did it bring ? 



230 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"He was a canny, canny Scot, although brought up in 
America. Only for the times when his mother would take 
him back to Aberdeen with my Katherine for long visits, he 
never saw Scotland, but what's in the blood holds fast 
through life. He was a canny Scot. It takes a time for 
letters to go and come, and in those days longer than now, 
when in two weeks one may reach the other side. The 
reply came as speedily as those days would admit, and it 
was carefully considered. Ah, Peter was a clever man to 
bring about his own way. Never a word did he say about 
forgiveness. It was as if no breach had ever been, but 
one thing I noticed that she thought must be only an omis- 
sion, because of the more important things that crowded 
it out. It was that never once did he mention me any more 
than if I had never existed. He said he would send her a 
certain sum of money — and it was a generous one, that 
is but just to admit — if when she received it she would 
take another sum, which he would also send, and return to 
them. He said his home was hers forever if she wished, 
and that he loved her, and had never had other feeling for 
her than love. Upon this letter came a long time of plead- 
ing with me — and I was ever soft — with her. She won 
her way. 

' ' ' We will both go, Larry, dear, ' she said. ' I know he for- 
got to say you might come, too. If he loves me as he says, 
he would not break my heart by leaving you out/ 

He sends only enough for one — for you/ I said. 

Yes, but he thinks you have enough to come by your- 
self. He thinks you would not accept it — and would not 
insult you by sending more.' 

He insults me by sending enough for you, dear. If I 



at 
(t < 



ta 



LARRY KILDENE'S STORY 231 

have it for me, I have it for you — most of all for you, or 
I'm no true man. If I have none for you — then we have 
none.' 

" 'Larry, for love of me, let me go — for the gulf between 
my twin brother and me will never be passed until I go to 
him.' And this was true enough. 'I will make them 
love you. Hester loves you now. She will help me/ 
Hester was the sweet wife of her brother. So she clung to 
me, and her hands touched me and caressed me — lad, I 
feel them now. I put her on the boat, and the money he 
sent relieved the suffering around me, and I gave thanks 
with a sore heart. It was for them, our own peasantry, 
and for her, I parted with her then, but as soon as I could I 
sold my little holding near my grandfather's house to an 
Englishman who had long wanted it, and when it was parted 
with, I took the money and delayed not a day to follow her. 

" I wrote to her, telling her when and where to meet me in 
the little town of Leauvite, and it was on the bluff over 
the river. I went to a home I knew there — where they 
thought well of me — I think. In the evening I walked 
up the long path, and there under the oak trees at the top 
where we had been used to sit, I waited. She came to me, 
walking in the golden light. It was spring. The whip- 
poor-wills called and replied to each other from the woods. 
A mourning dove spoke to its mate among the thick trees, 
low and sad, but it is only their way. I was glad, and so 
were they. 

"I held her in my arms, and the river sang to us. She 
told me all over again the love in her heart for me, as she 
used to tell it. Lad ! There is only one theme in the world 
that is worth telling. There is only one song in the uni- 



232 THE EYE OP DREAD 

verse that is worth singing, and when your heart has once 
sung it aright, you will never sing another. The air was 
soft and sweet around us, and we stayed until a town clock 
struck twelve ; then I took her back, and, as she was not 
strong, part of the way I carried her in my arms. I left 
her at her brother's door, and she went into the shadows 
there, and I was left outside, — all but my heart. She had 
been home so short a time — her brother was not yet rec- 
onciled, but she said she knew he would be. For me, I 
vowed I would make money enough to give her a home 
that would shame him for the poverty of his own — his, 
which he thought the finest in the town." 

For a long time there was silence, and Larry Kildene sat 
with his head drooped on his breast. At last he took up 
the thread where he had left it. "Two days later I stood in 
the heavy parlor of that house, — I stood there with their 
old portraits looking down on me, and my heart was filled 
with ice — ice and fire. I took what they placed in my 
arms, and it was — my — little son, but it might have been 
a stone. It weighed like lead in my arms, that ached with 
its weight. Might I see her ? No. Was she gone ? Yes. 
I laid the weight on the pillow held out to me for it, and 
turned away. Then Hester came and laid her hand on my 
arm, but my flesh was numb. I could not feel her touch. 

"'Give him to me, Larry/ she was saying. 'I will love 
him like my own, and he will be a brother to my little son.' 
And I gave him into her arms, although I knew even then 
that he would be brought up to know nothing of his father, 
as if I had never lived. I gave him into her arms because 
he had no mother and his father's heart had gone out of 
him. I gave him into her arms, because I felt it was all I 



LARRY KILDENE'S STORY 233 

could do to let his mother have the comfort of knowing 
that he was not adrift with me — if they do know where 
she is. For her sake most of all and for the lad's sake I 
left him there. 

"Then I knocked about the world a while, and back in 
Ireland I could not stay, for the haunting thought of her. 
I could bide nowhere. Then the thought took me that I 
would get money and take my boy back. A longing for 
him grew in my heart, and it was all the thought I had, but 
until I had money I would not return. I went to find a 
mine of gold. Men were flying West to become rich through 
the finding of mines of gold, and I joined them. I tried to 
reach a spot that has since been named Higgins' Camp, for 
there it was rumored that gold was to be found in plenty, 
and missed it. I came here, and here I stayed." 

Now the big man rose to his feet, and looked down on the 
younger one. He looked kindly. Then, as if seized and 
shaken by a torrent of impulses which he was trying to hold 
in check, he spoke tremulously and in suppressed tones. 

"I longed for my son, but I tell you this, because there is 
a strange thing which grasps a man's soul when he finds 
gold — as I found it. I came to love it for its own sake. 
I lived here and stored it up — until I am rich — you may 
not find many men so rich. I could go back and buy that 
bank that was Peter Craigmile's pride — " His voice rose, 
but he again suppressed it. "I could buy that pitiful 
little bank a hundred times over. And she — is — gone. 
I tried to keep her and the remembrance of her in my mind 
above the gold, but it was like a lunacy upon me. At the 
last — until I found you there on the verge of death — the 
gold was always first in my mind, and the triumph of hav- 



234 THE EYE OF DREAD 

ing it. I came to glory in it, and I worked day after day, 
and often in the night by torches, and all I gathered I hid, 
and when I was too weary to work, I sat and handled it and 
felt it fall through my fingers. 

"A woman in England — Miss Evans, by name, only she 
writes under the name of a man, George Eliot — has written 
a tale of a poor weaver who came to love his little horde of 
gold as if it were alive and human. It's a strong tale, that. 
A good one. Well, I came to understand what the poor 
little weaver felt. Summer and winter, day and night, 
week days and Sundays — and I was brought up to keep 
the Sunday like a Christian should — all were the same to 
me, just one long period for the getting together of gold. 
After a time I even forgot what I wanted the gold for in the 
first place, and thought only of getting it, more and more 
and more. 

"This is a confession, lad. I tremble to think what 
would have been on my soul had I done what I first thought 
of doing when that horse of yours called me. He was 
calling for you — no doubt, but the call came from heaven 
itself for me, and the temptation came. It was, to stay 
where I was and know nothing. I might have done that, 
too, if it were not for the selfish reasons that flashed through 
my mind, even as the temptation seized it. It was that 
there might be those below who were climbing to my home 
— to find me out and take from me my gold. I knew 
there were prospectors all over, seeking for what I had 
found, and how could I dare stay in my cabin and be traced 
by a stray horse wandering to my door? Three cold- 
blooded, selfish murders would now be resting on my soul. 
It's no use for a man to shut his eyes and say 'I didn't 



LARRY KILDENE'S STORY 235 

know.' It's his business to know. When you speak of the 
1 Curse of Cain,' think what I might be bearing now, and re- 
member, if a man repents of his act, there's mercy for him. 
So I was taught, and so I believe. 

"When I looked in your face, lying there in my bunk, 
then I knew that mercy had been shown me, and for this, 
here is the thing I mean to do. It is to show my gold 
and the mine from which it came to you — " 

"No, no ! I can't bear it. I must not know." Harry 
King threw up his hands as if in fright and rose, trembling 
in every limb. 

"Man, what ails you ?" 

"Don't. Don't put temptation in my way that I may 
not be strong enough to resist." 

"I say, what ails you ? It's a good thing, rightly used. 
It may help you to a way out of your trouble. If I never 
return — I will, mind you, — but we never know — if 
not, my life will surely not have been spent for naught. 
You, now, are all I have on earth besides the gold. It was 
to have been my son's, and it is yours. It might as well 
have been left in the heart of the mountain, else." 

"Better. The longer I think on it, the more I see that 
there is no hope for me, no true repentance, — " Again 
that expression on Harry King's face filled Larry's heart 
with deep pity. An inward terror seemed to convulse his 
features and throw a pallor as of age and years of sorrow 
into his visage. Then he continued, after a moment of 
self-mastery: "No true repentance for me but to go back 
and take the punishment. For this winter I will live here 
in peace, and do for Madam Manovska and her daughter 
what I can, and anything I can do for you, — then I must 



236 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



return and give myself up. The gold only holds out a 
worldly hope to me, and makes what I must do seem harder. 
I am afraid of it." 

"I'll make you a promise that if I return I'll not let you 
have it, but that it shall be turned to some good work. If 
I do not return, it will rest on your conscience that before 
you make your confession, you shall see it well placed for a 
charity. You'll have to find the charity, I can't say what it 
should be offhand now, but come with me. I must tell 
some man living my secret, and you're the only one. Be- 
sides — I trust you. Surely I do." 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE MINE — AND THE DEPARTURE 

Larry Kildene went around behind the stall where he 
kept his own horse and returned with a hollow tube of burnt 
clay about a foot long. Into this he thrust a pine knot 
heavy with pitch, and, carrying a bunch of matches in his 
hand, he led the way back of the fodder. 

" I made these clay handles for my torches myself. They 
are my invention, and I am quite proud of them. You can 
hold this burning knot until it is quite consumed, and that's 
a convenience." He stooped and crept under the fodder, 
and then Harry King saw why he kept more there than his 
horse could eat, and never let the store run low. It was 
to conceal the opening of a long, low passage that might at 
first be taken for a natural cave under the projecting mass 
of rock above them, which formed one side and part of the 
roof of the shed. Quivering with excitement, although 
sad at heart, Harry King followed his guide, who went 
rapidly forward, talking and explaining as he went. Under 
his feet the way was rough and made frequent turns, and 
for the most part seemed to climb upward. 

"There you see it. I discovered a vein of ore back there 
at the place we entered, and assayed it and found it rich, 
and see how I worked it out ! Here it seemed to end, and 
then I was still sane enough to think I had enough gold for 
my life ; I left the digging for a while, and went to find my 

237 



238 THE EYE OF DREAD 

boy. I learned that he was living and had gone into the 
army with his cousin, and I knew we would be of little use 
to each other then, but reasoned that the time was to 
come when the war would be over, and then he would have 
to find a place for himself, and his father's gold would help. 
However it was — I saw I must wait. Sit here a bit on this 
ledge, I want to tell you, but not in self-justification, mind 
you, not that. 

"I had been in India, and had had my fill of wars and 
fighting. I had no mind to it. I went off and bought 
stores and seed, and thought I would make more of my 
garden and not show myself again in Leauvite until my boy 
was back. It was in my thought, if the lad survived the 
army, to send for him and give him gold to hold his head 
above — well — to start him in life, and let him know his 
father, — but when I returned, the great madness came on 
me. 

"I had built the shed and stabled my horse there, and 
purposely located my cabin below. The trail up here from 
the plain is a blind one, because of the wash from the hills 
at times, and I didn't fear much from white men, — still 
I concealed my tracks like this. Gold often turns men into 
devils." 

He was silent for a time, and Harry King wondered much 
why he had made no further effort to find his son before 
making to himself the offer he had, but he dared not ques- 
tion him, and preferred to let Larry take his own way of 
telling what he would. As if divining his thought Larry 
said quietly: "Something held me back from going down 
again to find my son. The way is long, and in the old way 
of traveling over the plains it would take a year or more to 



THE MINE — AND THE DEPARTURE 239 

make the journey and return here, and somehow a super- 
stition seized me that my boy would set out sometime to 
find me, and I would make the way easy for him to do it. 
And here on the mountain the years slip by like a long 
sleep." * 

He began moving the torch about to show the walls of the 
cave in which they sat, and as he did so he threw the light 
strongly on the young man's face, and scrutinized it sharply. 
He saw again that terrible look of sadness as if his soul 
were dying within him. He saw great drops of sweat on his 
brow, and his eyes narrowed and fixed, and he hurried on 
with the narrative. He could not bear the sight. 

"Now here, look how this hole widens out? Here was 
where I prospected about to find the vein again, and there 
is where I took it up. All this overhead is full of gold. 
Think what it would mean if a man had the right apparatus 
for getting it out — I mean separating it ! I only took what 
was free; that is, what could be easily freed from the quartz. 
Sometimes I found it in fine nuggets, and then I would go 
wild, and work until I was so weak I could hardly crawl 
back to the entrance. I often lay down here and slept 
with fatigue before I could get back and cook my supper." 

As they went on a strange roaring seemed gradually to 
fill the passage, and Harry spoke for the first time since 
they had entered. He feared the sound of his own voice, 
as though if he began to speak, he might scream out, or re- 
veal something he was determined to hide. He thought the 
roaring sound might be in his own ears from the surging of 
blood in his veins and the tumultuous beating of his heart. 

"What is it I hear ? Is my head right ? " 

"The roaring? Yes, you're all right. I thought when 



240 THE EYE OF DREAD 

I was working here and slowly burrowing farther and 
farther that it might be the lack of air, and tried to contrive 
some way of getting it from the outside. I thought all 
the time that I was working farther into the mountain, and 
that I would have to stop or die here like a rat in a hole. 
But you just wait. You'll be surprised in a minute. ,, 

Then Harry laughed, and the laugh, unexpected to him- 
self, woke him from the trancelike feeling that possessed 
him, and he walked more steadily. "I've been being more 
surprised each minute. Am I in Aladdin's cave — or 
whose is it?" 

"Only mine. Just one more turn here and then — ! It 
was not in the night I came here, and it was not all at once, 
as you are coming — hold on ! Let me go in front of you. 
The hole was made gradually, until, one morning about 
ten o'clock, a great mass of rock — gold bearing, I tell you 
— rich in nuggets — I was crazed to lose it — fell out into 
space, and there I stood on the very verge of eternity." 

They rounded the turn as he talked, and Larry Kildene 
stood forward under the stars and waved the torch over his 
head and held Harry back from the edge with his other 
hand. The air over their heads was sweet and pure and 
cold, and full of the roar of falling water. They could see 
it in a long, vast ribbon of luminous whiteness against the 
black abyss — moving — and waving — coming out from 
nothingness far above them, and reaching down to the 
nethermost depths — in that weird gloom of night — into 
nothingness again. 

Harry stepped back, and back, into the hole from which 
they had emerged, and watched his companion stand hold- 
ing the torch, which lit his features with a deep red light 



THE MINE — AND THE DEPARTURE 241 

until he looked as if he might be the very alchemist of gold 
— red gold — and turning all he looked upon into the metal 
which closes around men's hearts. The red light flashed on 
the white ribbon of water, and this way and that, as he 
waved it around, on the sides of the passage behind him, 
turning each point of projecting rock into red gold. 

"Do you know where we are ? No. We're right under 
the fall — right behind it. No one can ever see this hole 
from the outside. It is as completely hidden as if the 
hand of the Almighty were stretched over it. The rush of 
this body of water always in front of it keeps the air in the 
passage always pure. It's wonderful — wonderful ! " 

He turned to look at Harry, and saw a wild man crouched 
in the darkness of the passage, glaring, and preparing to 
leap. He seized and shook him. "What ails you, man? 
Hold on. Hold on. Keep your head, I say. There ! I've 
got you. Turn about. Now ! It's over now. That's 
enough. It won't come again." 

Harry moaned. "Oh, let me go. Let me get away from 
it." 

The big man still gripped him and held him with his face 
toward the darkness. "Tell me what you see," he com- 
manded. 

Still Harry moaned, and sank upon his knees. "Lord, 
forgive, forgive ! " 

"Tell me what you see," Larry still commanded. He 
would try to break up this vision seeing. 

" God ! It is the eye. It follows me. It is gone." He 
heaved a great sigh of relief, but still remained upon his 
knees, quivering and weak. "Did you see it? You must 
have seen it." 



242 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"I saw nothing, and you saw nothing. It's in your 
brain, and your brain is sick. You must heal it. You 
must stop it. Stand now, and conquer it." 

Harry stood, shivering. "I wanted to end it. It would 
have been so easy, and all over so soon," he murmured. 

"And you would die a coward, and so add one more crime 
to the first. You'd shirk a duty, and desert those who 
need you. You'd leave me in the lurch, and those women 
dependent on me — wake up — " 

"I'm awake. Let's go away." Harry put his hand to 
his forehead and wiped away the cold drops that stood out 
like glistening beads of blood in the red light of the torch. 

Larry grieved for him, in spite of the harshness of his 
words and tone, and taking him by the elbow, he led him 
kindly back into the passage. 

"Don't trouble about me now," Harry said at last. 
"You've given me a thought to clutch to — if you really 
do need me — if I could believe it." 

"Well, you may ! Didn't you say you'd do for me more 
than sons do for their fathers ? I ask you to do just that 
for me. Live for me. It's a hard thing to ask of you, for, 
as you say, the other would be easier, but it's a coward's 
way. Don't let it tempt you. Stand to your guns like a 
man, and if the time comes and you can't see things differ- 
ently, go back and make your confession and die the death 
— as a brave man should. Meantime, live to some pur- 
pose and do it cheerfully." Larry paused. His words 
sank in, as he meant they should. He guided Harry slowly 
back to the place from which they had diverged, his arm 
across the younger man's shoulder. 

"Now I've more to show you. When I saw what I had 



THE MINE— AND THE DEPARTURE 243 

done, I set myself to find another vein, and see this large 
room ? I groveled all about here, this way and that. A 
year of this, see. It took patience, and in the meantime 
I went out into the world — as far as San Francisco, and 
wasted a year or more ; then back I came. 

"I tell you there is a lure in the gold, and the mountains 
are powers of peace to a man. It seemed there was no 
other place where I could rest in peace of mind. The long- 
ing for my son was on me, — but the war still raged, and I 
had no mind for that, — yet I was glad my boy was taking 
his part in the world out of which I had dropped. For one 
thing it seemed as if he were more my own than if he lived 
in Leauvite on the banker's bounty. I would not go back 
there and meet the contempt of Peter, Craigmile, for he 
never could forget that I had taken his sister out of hand, 
and she gone — man — it was all too sad. How did I 
know how my son had been taught to think on me ? I could 
not go back when I would. 

"His name was Richard — my boy's. If he came alive 
from the army I do not know, — See ? Here is where I 
found another vein, and I have followed it on there to the 
end of this other branch of the passage, and not exhausted 
it yet. Here's maybe another twenty years' work for some 
man. Now, wasn't it a great work for one man alone, to 
tunnel through that rock to the fall ? No one man needs 
all that wealth. I've often thought of Ireland and the 
poverty we left there. If I had my boy to hearten me, I 
could do something for them now. We'll go back and 
sleep, for it's the trail for me to-morrow, and to go and 
come quickly, before the snow falls. Come ! " 

They returned in silence to the shed. The torch had 



244 THE EYE OF DREAD 

burned well down into the clay handle, and Larry Kildene 
extinguished the last sparks before they crept through the 
fodder to their room in the shed. The fire of logs was 
almost out, and the place growing cold. 

" You'll find the gold in a strong box made of hewn logs, 
buried in the ground underneath the wood in the addition 
to the cabin. There's no need to go to it yet, not until 
you need money. I'll show you how I prepare it for use, in 
the morning. I do it in the room I made there near the fall. 
It's the most secret place a man ever had for such work." 

Larry stretched himself in his bunk and was soon sleeping 
soundly. Not so the younger man. He could not com- 
pose himself after the excitement of the evening. He 
tossed and turned until morning found him weary and worn, 
but with his troubled mind more at rest than it had been for 
many months. He had fought out his battle, at least for 
the time being, and was at peace. 

Harry King rose and went out into the cold morning air 
and was refreshed. He brought in a large handful of pine 
cones and made a roaring fire in the chimney he had built, 
before Larry roused himself. Then he, too, went out and 
surveyed the sky with practiced eye. 

"Clear and cool — that argues well for me. If it were 
warm, now, I'd hardly like to start. Sometimes the snow 
holds off for weeks in this weather." 

They stood in the pallid light of the early morning an 
hour before the sun, and the wind lifted Larry's hair and 
flapped his shirt sleeves about his arms. It was a tingling, 
sharp breeze, and when they returned to the cave, where 
they went for Harry's lesson in smelting, the old man's 
cheeks were ruddy. 



THE MINE— AND THE DEPARTURE 245 

The sun had barely risen when the lesson was over, and 
they descended for breakfast. Amalia had all ready for 
them, and greeted Larry from the doorway. 

"Good morning, Sir Kildene. You start soon. I have 
many good things to eat all prepare to put in your bag, and 
when you sit to your dinner on the long way, it is that you 
must think of Amalia and know that she says a prayer to 
the sweet Christ, that he send his good angels to watch over 
you all the way you go. A prayer to follow you all the way 
is good, is not?" Amalia's frank and untrammeled way 
of referring to Divinity always precipitated a shyness on 
Larry, — a shyness that showed itself in smiles and stam- 
mering. 

"Good — good — yes. Good, maybe so." Harry had 
turned back to bring down Larry's horse and pack mule. 
"Now, while we eat, — Harry will be down soon, we won't 
wait for him, — while we eat, let me go over the things I'm 
to find for you down below. I must learn the list well by 
heart, or you may send me back for the things I've missed 
bringing." 

As they talked Amalia took from her wrist a heavy 
bracelet of gold, and from a small leather bag hidden in her 
clothing, a brooch of emeralds, quaintly set and very 
precious. Her mother sat in one of her trancelike moods, 
apparently seeing nothing around her, and Amalia took 
Larry to one side and spoke in low tones. 

"Sir Kildene, I have thought much, and at last it seems 
to me right to part with these. It is little that we have — 
and no money, only these. What they are worth I have no 
knowledge. Mother may know, but to her I say nothing. 
They are a memory of the days when my father was noble 



246 THE EYE OF DREAD 

and lived at the court. If you can sell them — it is that 
this brooch should bring much money — my father has 
told me. It was saved for my dowry, with a few other 
jewels of less worth. I have no need of dowry. It is that 
I never will marry. Until my mother is gone I can well 
care for her with the lace I make, — and then — " 

"Lass, I can't take these. I have no knowledge of their 
worth — or — " He knew he was saying what was not 
true, for he knew well the value of what she laid so trust- 
ingly in his palm, and his hand quivered under the shining 
jewels. He cleared his throat and began again. "I say, 
I can't take jewels so valuable over the trail and run the 
risk of losing them. Never ! Put them by as before." 

"But how can I ask of you the things I wish ? I have no 
money to return for them, and none for all you have done 
for my mother and me. Please, Sir Kildene, take of this* 
then, only enough to buy for our need. It is little to take. 
Do not be hard with me." She pleaded sweetly, placing 
one hand under his great one, and the other over the jewels, 
holding them pressed to his palm. "Will you go away and 
leave my heart heavy ?" 

"Look here, now — " Again he cleared his throat. 
"You put them by until I come back, and then — " 

But she would not, and tying them in her handkerchief, 
she thrust them in the pocket of his flannel shirt. 

"There ! It is not safe in such a place. Be sure you 
take care, Sir Kildene. I have many thoughts in my 
mind. It is pot all the money of these you will need now, 
and of the rest I may take my mother to a large city, where 
are people who understand the fine lace. There I may sell 
enough to keep us well. But of money will I need' first a 



THE MINE — AND THE DEPARTURE 247 

little to get us there. It is well for me, you take these — 

see? Is not?" 

|. "No, it is not well." He spoke gruffly in his effort to 

overcome his emotion. "Where under heaven can I sell 

these?" 

"You go not to the great city ? " she asked sadly. " How 
must we then so long intrude us upon you ! It is very sad." 
She clasped her hands and looked in his eyes, her own 
brimming with tears; then he turned away. Tears in a 
woman's eyes ! He could not stand it. 

"See here. I'll tell you what I'll do. If that railroad 
is through anywhere — so — so — I can reach San Fran- 
cisco — " He thought he knew that to be an impossibility, 
and that she would be satisfied. "I say — if it's where I 
can reach San Francisco, I'll see what can be done." He 
cleared his throat a great many times, and stood awkwardly, 
hardly daring to move with the precious jewels in his pocket. 
" See here. They'll joggle out of here. Can't you — " 

She turned on him radiantly. "You may have my bag 
of leather. In that will they be safe." 

She removed the string from her neck and by it pulled 
the small embossed case from her bosom, shook out the 
few rings and unset stones left in it, and returned the larger 
jewels to it, and gave it into his hand, still warm from its 
soft resting place. At the same moment Harry arrived, 
leading the animals. He lifted his head courageously and 
his eyes shone as with an inspiration. 

"Will you let me accompany you a bit of the way, sir? 
I'd like to go." Larry accepted gladly. He knew then 
what he would do with Amalia's dowry. "Then I'll bring 
Goldbug. Thank you, Amalia, yes. I'll drink my coffee 



l \ 



248 THE EYE OF DREAD 

now, and eat as I ride." He ran back for his horse and soon 
returned, and then drank his coffee and snatched a bite, 
while Amalia and Larry slung the bags of food and the water 
on the mule and made all ready for the start. As he ate, he 
tried to arouse and encourage the mother, but she remained 
stolid until they were in the saddle, when she rose and 
followed them a few steps, and said in her deep voice : "Yes, 
I ask a thing. You will find Paul, my 'usband. Tell him 
to come to me — it is best — no more, — I cannot in Eng- 
lish." Then turning to her daughter she spoke volubly 
in her own tongue, and waved her hand imperiously toward 
the men. 

"Yes, mamma. I tell all you say." Amalia took a step 
away from the door, and her mother returned to her seat by 
the fire. 

"It is so sad. My mother thinks my father is returned 
to our own country and that you go there. She thinks you 
are our friend Sir McBride in disguise, and that you go to 
help my father. She fears you will be taken and sent to 
Siberia, and says tell my father it is enough. He must no 
more try to save our fatherland : that our noblemen are 
full of ingratitude, and that he must return to her and live 
hereafter in peace." 

"Let be so. It's a saving hallucination. Tell her if 
I find your father, I will surely deliver the message." 
And the two men rode away up the trail, conversing 
earnestly. 

Larry Kildene explained to Harry about the jewels, and 
turned them over to his keeping. " I had to take them, you 
see. You hide them in that chamber I showed you, along 
with the gold bars. Hang it around your neck, man, until 



THE MINE — AND THE DEPARTURE 249 

you get back. It has rested on her bosom, and if I were a 
young man like you, that fact alone would make it sacred 
to me. It's her dowry, she said. I'd sooner part with my 
right hand than take it from her." 

"So would I." Harry took the case tenderly, and hid it 
as directed, and went on to ask the favor he had accom- 
panied Larry to ask. It was that he might go down and 
bring the box from the wagon. 

"Early this morning, before I woke you, I led the brown 
horse you brought the mother up the mountain on out 
toward the trail ; we'll find him over the ridge, all packed 
ready, and when I ran back for my horse, I left a letter 
written in charcoal on the hearth there in the shed — 
Amalia will be sure to go there and find it, if I don't return 
now — telling her what I'm after and that I'll only be gone 
a few days. She's brave, and can get along without us." 
Larry did not reply at once, and Harry continued. 

"It will only take us a day and a half to reach it, and 
with your help, a sling can be made of the canvas top of the 
wagon, and the two animals can 'tote it' as the darkies 
down South say. I can walk back up the trail, or even 
ride one of the horses. We'll take the tongue and the 
reach from the wagon and make a sort of affair to hang to 
the beasts, I know how it can be done. There may not be 
much of value in the box, but then — there may be. I 
see Amalia wishes it of all things, and that's enough for 
— us." 

Thus it came that the two women were alone for five 
days. Madam Manovska did not seem to heed the absence 
of the two men at first, and waited in a contentment she 
had not shown before. It would seem that, as Larry had 



250 . THE EYE OF DREAD 

said, there was saving in her hallucination, but Amalia 
was troubled by it. 

" Mother is so sure they will bring my father back," she 
thought. She tried to forestall any such catastrophe as 
she feared by explaining that they might not find her father 
or he might not return, even if he got her message, not 
surely, for he had always done what he thought his duty 
before anything else, and he might think it his duty to stay 
where he could find something to do. 

When Harry King did not return that night, Amalia 
did as he had laughingly suggested to her, when he left, 
"You'll find a letter out in the shed," was all he said. So 
she went up to the shed, and there she lighted a torch, and 
kneeling on the stones of the wide hearth, she read what he 
had written for her. 

"To the Lady Amalia Manovska : 

"Mr. Rildene will help me get your box. It will not be hard, for 
the two of us, and after it is drawn out and loaded I can get up with 
it myself and he can go on. I will soon be with you again, never 
fear. Do not be afraid of Indians. If there were any danger, I would 
not leave you. There is no way by which they would be likely to 
reach you except by the trail on which we go, and we will know if they 
are about before they can possibly get up the trail. I have seen you 
brave on the plains, and you will be as brave on the mountain top. 
Good-by for a few days. 

" Yours to serve you, 

"Harry King." 

The tears ran fast down her cheeks as she read. "Oh, 
why did I speak of it — why ? He may be killed. He may 
die of this attempt." She threw the torch from her into the 
fireplace, and clasping her hands began to pray, first in 



THE MINE— AND THE DEPARTURE 251 



English her own words, then the prayers for those in peril 
which she had learned in the convent. Then, lying on 
her face, she prayed frantically in her own tongue for 
Harry's safety. At last, comforted a little, she took up the 
torch and, flushed and tearful, walked down in the darkness 
to the cabin and crept into bed. 



CHAPTER XX 

ALONE ON THE MOUNTAIN 

For the first two days of Harry King's absence Madam 
Manovska .relapsed into a more profound melancholy, and 
the care of her mother took up Amalia's time and thoughts 
so completely as to give her little for indulging her own 
anxiety for Harry's safety. Strangely, she felt no fear 
for themselves, although they were thus alone on the moun- 
tain top. She had a sense of security there which she had 
never felt in the years since she had been taken from the 
convent to share her parents' wanderings. She made an 
earnest effort to divert and arouse her mother and succeeded 
until Madam Manovska talked much and volubly in Polish, 
and revealed more of the thoughts that possessed her in 
the long hours of brooding than she had ever told Amalia 
before. It seemed that she confidently expected the re- 
turn of the men with her husband, and that the message 
she had sent by Larry Kildene would surely bring him. The 
thought excited her greatly, and Amalia found it necessary 
to keep continual watch lest she wander off down the trail 
in the direction they had taken, and be lost. 

For a time Amalia tried to prevent Madam Manovska 
from dwelling on the past, until she became convinced that 
to do so was not well, since it only induced the fits of brood- 
ing. She then decided to encourage her mother to speak 
freely of her memories, rather than to keep them locked in 

252 



ALONE ON THE MOUNTAIN 253 

her own mind. It was in one of these intervals of talkative- 
ness that Amalia learned the cause of that strange cry that 
had so pierced her heart and startled her on the trail. 

They had gone out for a walk, as the only means of induc- 
ing her mother to sleep was to let her walk in the clear air 
until so weary as to bring her to the point of exhaustion. 
This time they went farther than Amalia really intended, 
and had left the paths immediately about the cabin, and 
climbed higher up the mountain. Here there was no trail 
and the way was rough indeed, but Madam Manovska 
was in one of her most wayward moods and insisted on 
going higher and farther. 

Her strength was remarkable, but it seemed to be strength 
of will rather than of body, for all at once she sank down, 
unable to go forward or to return. Amalia led her to the 
shade of a great gnarled tree, a species of fir, and made her 
lie down on a bed of stiff, coarse moss, and there she pil- 
lowed her mother's head on her lap. Whether it was some- 
thing in the situation in which she found herself or not, her 
mother began to tell her of a time about which she had 
hitherto kept silent. It was of the long march through heat 
and cold, over the wildest ways of the earth to Siberia, at 
her husband's side. 

She told how she had persisted in going with him, even 
at the cost of dressing in the garb of the exiles from the 
prisons and pretending to be one of the condemned. Only 
one of the officers knew her secret, who for reasons of hu- 
manity — or for some other feeling — kept silence. She 
carried her child in her arms, a boy, five months old, and 
was allowed to walk at her husband's side instead of follow- 
ing on with the other women. She told how they carried a 



254 THE EYE OF DREAD 

few things on their backs, and how one and another of 
the men would take the little one at intervals to help her, 
and how long the marches were when the summer was on 
the wane and they wished to make as much distance as 
possible before they were delayed by storms and snow. 

Then she told how the storms came at last, and how her 
baby fell ill, and cried and cried — all the time — and how 
they walked in deep snow, until one and another fell by the 
way and never walked farther. She told how some of the 
weaker ones were finally left behind, because they could 
get on faster without them, but that the place where they 
were left was a terrible one under a cruel man, and that 
her child would surely have died there before the winter 
was over, and that when she persisted in keeping on with 
her husband, they beat her, but at last consented on con- 
dition that she would leave her baby boy. Then how she 
appealed to the officer who knew well who she was and that 
she was not one of the condemned, but had followed her hus- 
band for love, and to intercede for him when he would have 
been ill-treated ; and that the man had allowed her to have 
her way, but later had demanded as his reward for yield- 
ing to her, that she no longer belong to her husband, but to 
him. 

Looking off at the far ranges of mountains with steady 
gaze, she told of the mountains they had crossed, and the 
rushing, terrible rivers ; and how, one day, the officer who 
had been kind only that he might be more cruel, had de- 
termined to force her to obedience, and how he grew very 
angry — so angry that when they had come to a trail that 
was well-nigh impassable, winding around the side of a 
mountain, where was a fearful rushing river far below them, 



ALONE ON THE MOUNTAIN 255 

and her baby cried in her arms for cold and hunger, how he 
had snatched the child from her and hurled it over the 
precipice into the swift water, and how she had shrieked 
and struck him and was crazed and remembered no more 
for days, except to call continually on God to send down 
curses on that officer's head. She told how after that they 
were held at a certain station for a long time, but that she 
was allowed to stay by her husband only because the officer 
feared the terrible curses she had asked of God to descend 
on that man, that he dared no more touch her. 

Then Amalia understood many things better than ever 
before, and grew if possible more tender of her mother. 
She thought how all during that awful time she had been 
safe and sheltered in the convent, and her life guarded; 
and moreover, she understood why her father had always 
treated her mother as if she were higher than the angels 
and with the courtesy and gentleness of a knight errant. 
He had bowed to her slightest wish, and no wonder her 
mother thought that when he received her request to return 
to her, and give up his hope, he would surely come to her. 

More than ever Amalia feared the days to come if she 
could in no way convince her mother that it was not ex- 
pedient for her father to return yet. To say again that he 
was dead she dared not, even if she could persuade Madam 
Manovska to believe it; for it seemed to her in that event 
that her mother would give up all interest in life, and die of 
a broken heart. But from the first she had not accepted the 
thought of her husband's death, and held stubbornly to the 
belief that he had joined Harry King to find help. He had, 
indeed, wandered away from them a few hours after the 
young man's departure and had been unable to find his 



2 5 '> THE EYE OF DREAD 



v Ia/Jc. an/3, until Larrv KOdece case to than, tbcv had 
</>rr.;omd themselves that the two men were together. 

Mj',h more Madam ManovsLa told her daughter that 
day. before fche ilept ; and Amalia questioned her isorc 
ct/yjy than she had ever done concerning her father's taith. 
Thereaf U;r hhe sat for a long time on the bank of coarse moss 
and pondered, with her mother's head pillowed on her lap. 
The hun reached the hour of noon, and still the mother 
fclcpt and the daughter would not waken her. 

She took from the small velvet bag she always carried with 
her, a crisp cake of corn meal and ate to satisfy her sharp 
hunger, for the keen air and the long climb gave her the 
appetite belonging to the vigorous health which was hers. 
They had climbed that part of the mountain directly behind 
the cabin, and from the secluded spot where they sat she 
could look down on it and on the paths leading to it; 
thankful and happy that at last they were where all was 
m safe, no fear of intrusion entered her mind. Even her 
first anxiety about the Indians she had dismissed. 

Now, as her eyes wandered absently over the far distance 
and dropf>ed to the nearer hills, and on down to the cabin 
and the patch of cultivated ground, what was her horror 
U) sec three figures stealing with swift, gliding tread to- 
ward the fodder shed from above, where was no trail, only 
such rough and wild hillside as that by which she and her 
mother had climbed. The men seemed to be carrying some- 
thing slung between them on a pole. With long, gliding 
steps they walked in single file as she had seen the Indians 
walk on the plains. 

She drew in her breath sharply and clasped her hands 
in supplication. Had those men seen them? Devoutly 



ALONE ON THE MOUNTAIN 257 

she prayed that they might not look up toward the heights 
where she and her mother sat. As they continued to de- 
scend she lost sight of them among the pines and the under- 
growth which was more vigorous near the fall, and then 
they appeared again and went into the cabin. She thought 
they must have been in the fodder shed when she lost sight 
of them, and now she waited breathlessly to see them emerge 
from the cabin. For an hour she sat thus, straining her 
eyes lest she miss seeing them when they came forth, and 
fearing lest her mother waken. Then she saw smoke issu- 
ing from the cabin chimney, and her heart stopped its beat- 
ing. What ! Were they preparing to stay there ? How 
could her mother endure the cold of the mountain all night ? 

Then she began to consider how she might protect her 
mother after the sun had gone from the cold that would 
envelop them. Reasoning that as long as the Indians 
stayed in the cabin they could not be seen by them, she 
looked about for some projecting ledge under which they 
might creep for the night. Gently she lifted her mother's 
head and placed it on her own folded shawl, and, with an 
eye ever on the cabin below, she crept further up the side 
of the mountain until she found a place where a huge rock, 
warmed by the sun, projected far out, and left a hollow 
beneath, into which they might creep. Frantically she 
tore off twigs of the scrubby pines around them, and made 
a fragrant bed of pine needles and moss on which to rest. 
Then she woke her mother. 

Sane and practical on all subjects but the one, Madam 
Manovska roused herself to meet this new difficulty with 
the old courage, and climbed with Amalia's help to their 
wild resting place without a word of complaint. There she 



258 THE EYE OF DREAD 

sat looking out over the magnificent scene before her with 
her great brooding eyes, and ate the coarse corn cake 
Amalia put in her hands. 

She talked, always in Polish or in French, of the men 
" rouge," and said she did not wonder they came to so good 
a place to rest, and that she would give thanks to the great 
God that she and her daughter were on the mountain when 
they arrived. She reminded Amalia that if she had con- 
sented to return when her daughter wished, they would 
now have been in the cabin with those terrible men, and 
said that she had been inspired of God to stay long on the 
mountain. Contentedly, then, she munched her cake, and 
remarked that water would give comfort in the eating of it, 
but she smiled and made the best of the dry food. Then 
she prayed that her husband might be detained until the 
men were gone. 

Amalia gave her mother the water that was left in the 
bottle she had brought with her, and lamented that she had 
saved so little for her. " It was so bad, not to save more for 
my mamma," she cried, giving the bottle with its lowered 
contents into her mother's hand. "I go to watch, mamma 
mine. Soon will I return.' ' 

Amalia went back to her point of vantage, where she 
could see all about the cabin and shed. Still the smoke 
poured from the chimney, and there was no sign of red men 
without. It was a mountain sheep they had carried, slung 
between them, and now they dressed and cooked a portion 
of it, and were gorging themselves comfortably before the 
fire, with many grunts of satisfaction at the finding of the 
formidable owner of the premises absent. They were on 
their way to Laramie to trade and sell game, and it was 



ALONE ON THE MOUNTAIN 259 

their intention to leave a portion of their mutton with Larry 
Kildene ; for never did they dare venture near him without 
bringing a propitiatory offering. 

The sun had set and the cold mists were blowing across 
from the fall and closing around the cabin like a veil of 
amethystine dye, when Amalia saw them moving about 
the cabin door as if preparing to depart. Her heart rose, 
and she signaled her mother, but no. They went indoors 
again, and she saw them no more. In truth they had dis- 
puted long as to whether it was best to leave before the big 
man's return, or to remain in their comfortable quarters 
and start early, before day. It was the conference that 
drew them out, and they had made ready to start at a 
moment's notice if he should return in the night. But as 
the darkness crept on and Larry Kildene did not appear 
they stretched themselves before the fire and slept, and the 
two women on the mountain, hungry and cold, crept under 
the mother's cloak and lay long into the night, shivering and 
listening, couched on the pine twigs Amalia had spread 
uijder the ledge of rock. At last, clasped in each other's 
arms, they slept, in spite of fear and cold, for very weariness. 

Amalia woke next morning to the low murmuring of a 
voice. It was her mother, kneeling in the pine needles, 
praying at her side. She waited until the prayer was ended, 
then she rose and went out from the sheltered hollow where 
they lay. "I will look a little, mamma. Wait for me." 

She gazed down on the cabin, but all was still. The ame- 
thystine veil had not lifted, and no smoke came from the 
chimney. She crept back to her mother's side, and they 
sat close for warmth, and waited. When the sun rose and 
the clouds melted away, all the earth smiled up at them, 



2 6o THE EYE OF DREAD 

and their fears seemed to melt away with the clouds. Still 
they did not venture out where they thought they might be 
spied from below, and time passed while they watched 
earnestly for the sight of moving figures, and still no smoke 
appeared from the cabin. 

Higher and higher the sun climbed in the sky, yet they 
could not bring themselves to return. Hunger pressed 
them, and Amalia begged her mother to let her go a little 
nearer to listen, but she would not. So they discussed to- 
gether in their own tongue and neither would allow the other 
to venture below, and still no smoke issued from the chim- 
ney. 

At last Amalia started and pressed her hand to her heart. 
What did she see far along on the trail toward the desert ? 
Surely, a man with two animals, climbing toward the turn. 
Her eyes danced for gladness as she turned a flushed face 
toward her mother. 

"Look, mamma ! Far on, — no — there ! It is — 
mamma mine — it is 'Arry King ! " The mere sight of him 
made her break out in English. "It is that I must go to 
him and tell him of the Indian in the cabin before he arrive. 
If he come -on them there, and they kill him ! Oh, let me 
go quickly." At the thought of him, and the danger he 
might meet, all her fears of the men "rouge " returned upon 
her, and she was gone, passing with incredible swiftness 
over the rough way, to try to intercept him before he could 
reach the cabin. 

But she need not have feared, for the Indians were long 
gone. Before daybreak they had passed Harry where he 
rested in the deep dusk of the morning, without knowing 
he was near. With swift, silent steps they had passed down 



ALONE ON THE MOUNTAIN 261 

the trail, taking as much of Larry Kildene's corn as they 
could carry, and leaving the bloody pelt of the sheep and 
a very meager share of the mutton in exchange. Hungry 
and footsore, yet eager and glad to have come home suc- 
cessfully, Harry King walked forward, leading his good 
yellow horse, his eyes fixed on the cabin, and wondering 
not a little ; for he, too, saw that no smoke was issuing from 
the chimney. 

He hastened, and all Amalia's swiftness could not bring 
her to him before he reached his goal. He saw first the 
bloody pelt hanging beside the door, and his heart stood 
still. Those two women never could have done that ! 
Where were they ? He dropped the leading strap, leaving 
the weary horses where they stood, and ran forward to 
enter the cabin and see the evidence of Indians all about. 
There were the clean-picked bones of their feast and the 
dirt from their feet on Amalia's carefully kept floor. The 
disorder smote him, and he ran out again in the sun. Look- 
ing this way and that, he called and listened and called 
again. Why did no answer reach him ? Poor Amalia ! 
In her haste she had turned her foot and now, fainting with, 
pain, and with fear for him, she could not find her voice to 
reply. 

He thought he heard a low cry. Was it she ? He ran 
again, and now he saw her, high above him, a dark heap on 
the ground. Quickly he was by her side, and, kneeling, he 
gathered her in his arms. He forgot all but that she was 
living and that he held her, and he kissed her white face 
and her lips, and said all the tender things in his heart. 
He did not know what he was saying. He only knew that 
he could feel her heart beat, and that she was opening her 



262 THE EYE OF DREAD 

eyes, and that with quivering arms she clasped his neck, 
and that her tears wet his cheek, and that, over and over, 
her lips were repeating his name. 

" 'Any — 'Any King ! You are come back. Ah, 'Any 
King, my heart cry with the great gladness they have not 
killed you." 

All in the same instant he bethought himself that he 
must not caress her thus. Yet filled with a gladness he 
could not fathom he still clung to her and still murmured 
the words he meant never to speak to her. One thing he 
could do. One thing sweet and right to do. He could 
carry her to the cabin. How could she reach it else? 
His heart leaped that he had at least that right. 

"No, 'Any King. You have walk the long, hard way, 
and are very weary." But still he carried her. 

"Put me down, 'Arry King." Then he obeyed her, and 
set her gently down. "I am too great a burden. See, 
thus ? If you help me a little — it is that I may hop — 
It is better, is not ? " 

She smiled in his face, but he only stooped and lifted her 
again in his arms. "You are not a burden, Amalia. Put 
your arms around my neck, and lean on me." 

She obeyed him, and he could say no more for the beating 
of his heart. Carefully and slowly he made his way, setting 
his feet cautiously among the stones that obstructed his 
path. Madam Manovska from her heights above saw how 
her daughter was being carried, and, guessing the trouble, 
snatched up the velvet bag Amalia had dropped in her 
haste, flung her cloak about her, and began to thread her 
way down, slowly and carefully ; for, as she said to herself, 
41 We must not both break the bones at one time." 



ALONE ON THE MOUNTAIN 263 

To Harry it seemed no sound was ever sweeter than 
Amalia's low voice as she coaxed him brokenly to set her 
down and allow her to walk. 

"This is great foolishness, 'Any King, that you carry me. 
Put me down that you rest a little." 

"I can't, Amalia." 

"You have walk all the long trail — I saw you walk — 
and lead those horse, for only to bring our box. How my 
heart can thank you is not possible. 'Arry King, you are 
so weary — put me down." 

"I can't, Amalia," again was all he said. So he held her, 
comforting his heart that he had this right, until he drew 
near the cabin, and there Amalia saw the pelt of the sheep 
hung upon the wall of the cabin, pitifully dangling, bloody 
and ragged. Strangely, at the sight quite harmless, yet 
gruesome, all her fortitude gave way. With a cry of terror 
she hid her face and clung to him. 

"No, no. I cannot go there — not near it — no !" 

"Oh, you brave, sweet woman! It is only a skin. 
Don't look at it, then. You have been frightened. I see 
how you have suffered. Wait. There — no, don't put 
your foot to the ground. Sit on this hillock while I take it 
away." 

But she only clung to him the more, and sobbed con- 
vulsively. "I am afraid — 'Airy King. Oh, if — if — 
they are there still ! Those Indian ! Do not go there." 

"But they are gone; I have been in and they are not there. 
I won't take you into that place until I have made it fit 
for you again. Sit here awhile. Amalia Manovska, — I 
can't see you weep." So tenderly he spoke her name, with 
quivering lips, reverently. With all his power he held him- 



264 THE EYE OF DREAD 

self and would dare no more. If only once more he might 
touch her lips with his — only once in his renunciation — 
but no. His conscience forbade him. Memory closed 
upon him like a deadening cloud and drenched his hurt 
soul with sorrow. He rose from stooping above her and 
looked back. 

" Your mother is coming. She will be here in a moment 
and then I will set that room in order for you, and — " 
his voice shook so that he was obliged to pause. He stooped 
again to her and spoke softly: "Amalia Manovska, stop 
weeping. Your tears fall on my heart." 

"Ah, what have happen, to you — to Amalia — ? Those 
terrible men 'rouge' !" cried Madam Manovska, hurrying 
forward. 

"Oh, Madam, I am glad you have come. The Indians 
are gone, never fear. Amalia has hurt her foot. It is 
very painful. You will know what to do for her, and I 
will leave her while I make things more comfortable in 
there." 

He left them and ran to the cabin, and hastily taking 
the hideous pelt from the wall, hid it, and then set himself 
to cleaning the room and burning the litter of bones and 
scraps left from the feast. It was horrible — yes, horrible, 
that they should have had such a fright, and alone there. 
Soon he went back, and again taking her in his arms, un- 
resisted now, he laid her on the bunk, then knelt and re- 
moved her worn shoe. 

"Little worn shoe ! It has walked many a mile, has it 
not? Did you think to ask Larry Kildene to bring you 
new ones?" 

"No, I forgot my feet." She laughed, and the spell of 



ALONE ON THE MOUNTAIN 265 

tears was broken. The long strain of anxiety and fear and 
then the sudden release had been too much. Moreover, 
she was faint with hunger. Without explanation Harry 
King understood. He looked to the mother for help and 
saw that a change had come over her. Roused from her 
apathy she was preparing food, and looking from her to 
Amalia, they exchanged a glance of mutual relief. 

"How it is beautiful to see her!" Amalia spoke low. 
"It is my hurt that is good for her mind. I am glad of the 
hurt." 

He sat with the shoe in his hand. "Will you let me bind 
your ankle, Amalia ? It will grow worse unless something 
is done quickly." He spoke humbly, as one beseeching a 
favor. 

"Now it is already better, you have remove the shoe." 
How he loved her quaint, rapid speech! "Mamma will 
bind it, for you have to do for those horse and the mule. 
I know — I have seen — to take them to drink and eat, 
and take from them the load — the burden. It is the box 

— for that have you risk your life, and the gladness we 
feel to again have it is — is only one greater — and that is 
to have you again with us. Oh, what a sorrow and terror 

— if you had not come — I can never make you know. 
When I see those Indian come walking after each other so 
as they go — my heart cease to beat — and my body be- 
come like the ice — for the fear. When fearing for myself, 
it is bad, but when for another it is much — much — more 
terrible. So have I found it." 

Her mother came then to attend to her hurt, interrupting 
Amalia *s flow of speech, and Harry went out to the animals, 
full of care and misgiving. What now could he do ? How 



266 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



endure the days to come with their torture of repression ? 
How shield her from himself and his love — when she so 
freely gave ? What middle course was possible, without 
making her suffer ? 

That afternoon all the events of his journey were told 
to them as they questioned him keenly, and he learned by 
little words and looks exchanged between them how great 
had been their anxiety for him, and of their night of terror 
on the mountain. But now that it was past and they were 
all unhurt except for Amalia's accident, they made light of 
it. He dragged in the box, and before he left them that 
night he prepared Larry's gun, and told Amalia to let noth- 
ing frighten her. 

" Don't leave the bunk, nor put your foot to the ground. 
Fire the gun at the slightest disturbance, and I will surely 
hear. I have another in the shed. Or I will roll my- 
self in my blanket, and sleep outside your door. Yes, I 
will do that." 

Then the mother turned on him and spoke in her deep 
tones : " Go to your bed, 'Any King, and sleep well. You 
have need. We asked of the good God your safety, and 
our fear is gone. Good night." 

"Goodnight." 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE VIOLIN 

While Amalia lay recovering from the sprained ankle, 
which proved to be a serious hurt, Madam Manovska con- 
tinued to improve. She took up the duties which had be- 
fore occupied Amalia only, and seemed to grow more cheer- 
ful. Still she remained convinced that Larry Kildene 
would return with her husband, and her daughter's anx- 
iety as to what might be the outcome, when the big man 
should arrive alone, deepened. 

Harry King guardedly and tenderly watched over the 
two women. Every day he carried Amalia out in the sun 
to a sheltered place, where she might sit and work at the 
fascinating lace with which her fingers seemed to be only 
playing, yet which developed into webs of most intricate 
design, even while her eyes were not fixed upon it, but were 
glancing about at whatever interested her, or up in his face, 
as she talked to him impulsively in her fluent, inverted 
English. 

Amalia was not guarded ; she was lavish with her interest 
in all he said, and in her quick, responsive, and poetic play 
of fancy — ardent and glowing — glad to give out from 
her soul its best to this man who had befriended her father 
in their utmost need and who had saved her own and her 
mother's life. She knew always when a cloud gathered over 
his spirit, and made it her duty to dispel such mists of some 

267 



268 THE EYE OF DREAD 

possible sad memory by turning his thoughts to whatever 
of beauty she found around them, or in the inspiration of 
her own rich nature. 

To avoid disquieting her by the studied guardedness of 
his manner, Harry employed himself as much of the time 
as possible away from the cabin, often in providing game for 
the winter. Larry Kildene had instructed him how to 
cure and dry the meat and to store it and also how to care 
for the skins, but because of the effect of that sight of the 
bloody sheep's pelt on Amalia, he never showed her a poor 
little dead creature, or the skin of one. He brought her 
mother whatever they required of food, carefully prepared, 
and that was all. 

He constructed a chair for her and threw over it furs from 
Larry Kildene's store, making it soft and comfortable 
thereby. He made also a footstool for the hurt ankle to 
rest upon, and found a beautiful lynx skin with which to 
cover her feet. The back of the chair he made high, and 
hinged it with leather to the seat, arranging it so that by 
means of pegs it might be raised or lowered. Without 
lumber, and with the most simple tools, he sawed and hewed 
the logs, and lacking nails he set it together with pegs, but 
what matter ? It was comfortable, and in the making of 
it he eased his heart by expressing his love without sorrowful 
betrayal. 

Amalia laughed as she sat in it, one day, close to the open 
door, because the air was too pinching cold for her to be out. 
She laughed as she put her hands in the soft fur and drew 
her fingers through it, and looked up in Harry's face. 

"You are thinking me so foolish, yes, to have about me 
the skins of poor little killed beasts? Yet I weeped all 



THE VIOLIN 269 

those tears on your coat because to see the other — yes, — 
hanging beside the door. It is so we are — is not ?" 

"I'm glad enough you're not consistent. It would be a 
blot on your character." 

"But for why, Mr. 'Arry ?" 

"Oh, I couldn't stand it." 

Again she laughed. "How it is very peculiar — that 
reason you give. Not to stand it ! Could you then to sit 
it ?" But Harry only laughed and looked away from her. 
She laid her face against the soft fur. " Good little animals 
— to give me your life. But some time you would die — 
perhaps with sorrow of hunger and age, and the life be for 
nothing. This is better." 

"There you're right. Let me draw you back in the room 
and close the door. It will freeze to-night, I'm thinking." 

"Oh, not yet, please! I have yet to see the gloryful 
sky of the west. Last evening how it was beautiful! To- 
night it will be more lovely to look upon for the long line 
of little cloud there on which the red of the sun will burn 
like fire in the heaven over the mountain." 

"You must enjoy the beauty, Amalia, and then pray 
that there may be no snow. It looks like it, and we want 
the snow to hold off until Larry comes back." 

"We pray, always, my mamma and I. She that he come 
back quickly, and me — I pray that he come back safely — 
but to be soon — it is such terror to me." 

"Larry will find a way out of the difficulty. He will 
have an excuse all thought out for your mother. I am more 
anxious about the snow with a sunset sky like that, but I 
don't know anything about this region." 

"Mr. 'Arry, so very clever you are in making things, can 



270 THE EYE OF DREAD 

you help me to one more thing ? I like very much to have 
the sticks for lame walking, — what you call — the crutch ? 
Yes. I have for so long time spoken only the Polish that 
I forget me greatly the English. You must talk to me 
much, and make me reproof of my mistakes. Do you 
know for why I like the crutch ? It is that I would go each 
day — many times to see the water fall down. Ah, how 
that is beautiful ! In the sun, or early in the morning, or in 
the night, always beautiful !" 

"You shall have the crutches, Amalia, and until I get 
them made, I will carry you to the fall each day. Come, 
I will take you there now. I will wrap these furs around 
you, and you shall see the fall in the evening light." 

"No, 'Any King. To-morrow I will try to ride on the 
horse if you will lift me up on him. I will let you do this. 
But you may not carry me as you have done. I am now so 
strong. You may make me the crutch, yes." Of all 
things he wished her to let him carry her to the fall, but 
her refusal was final, and he set about making the crutches 
immediately. 

Through the evening he worked on them, and at night- 
fall the next day he brought them to her. As he came down 
from his shed, carrying the crutches proudly, he heard sweet, 
quavering tones in the air wafted intermittently. The wind 
was still, and through the evening hush the tones strength- 
ened as he drew nearer the cabin, until they seemed to wrap 
him in a net of interwoven cadences and fine-spun threads 
of quivering melody — a net of sound, inclosing his spirit 
in its intricate mesh of sweetness. 

He paused and breathed deeply, and turned this way and 
that, as if he would escape but found no way; then he 



THE VIOLIN 271 

walked slowly on. At the door of the cabin he paused 
again. The firelight shone through from underneath, and 
a fine thread of golden light sifted through the latch of 
the door and fell on the hand that held Amalia's crutches. 
He looked down on the spot of light dancing over his hand 
as if he were dazed by it. Very gently he laid the crutches 
across the threshold, and for a long time stood without, 
listening, his head bowed as if he were praying. 

It was her father's violin, the one she had wept at leaving 
behind her. What was she playing ? Strange, old-world 
melodies they seemed, tossed into the air, now laughing, 
now wailing like sorrowing women voices. Oh, the violin 
in her hands ! Oh, the rapture of hearing it, as her soul 
vibrated through it and called to him — called to him ! — 
But he would not hear the call. He turned sorrowfully 
and went down again to the shed and there he lay upon his 
face and clasped his hands above his head and whispered 
her name. It was as if his heart were beating itself against 
prison walls and the clasped hands were stained with blood. 

He rose next morning, haggard and pale. The snow was 
falling — falling — softly and silently. It fell like lead 
upon his heart, so full of anxiety was he for the good friend 
who might even then be climbing up the trail. Madam 
Manovska observed his drawn face, and thought he suffered 
only from anxiety and tried to comfort him. Amalia also 
attempted to cover her own anxiety by assurances that the 
good St. Christopher who watches over travelers would 
protect Larry Kildene, because he knew so well how many 
dangers there were, and that he, who had carried the Christ 
with all his burden of sorrows could surely keep "Sir Kil- 
dene" even through the snows of winter. In spite of an 



272 THE EYE OF DREAD 

inherent and trained disbelief in all supposed legends, es- 
pecially as tenets of faith, Harry felt himself comforted by 
her talk, yet he could not forbear questioning her as to her 
own faith in them. 

"Do you truly believe all that, Amalia ?" 

"All — that — ? Of what — Mr. 'Arry ? " She seemed 
truly mystified. 

"I mean those childish legends of the saints you often 
quote?" 

Amalia laughed. "You think I have learn them of the 
good sisters in my convent, and is no truth in them ?" 

"Why — I guess that's about it. Did your father be- 
lieve them?" 

" Maybe no. But my father was * devou6 ' — very — but 
he had a very wide thought of God and man — a thought 
reaching far out — to — I find it very hard to explain. If 
but you understood the French, I could tell you — but for 
me, I have my father's faith and it makes me glad to play 
in my heart with these legends — as you call them." 

He gave her a quick, appealing glance, then turned his 
gaze away. "Try to explain. Your English is beautiful." 

"If you eat your breakfast, then will I try." 

"Yes, yes, I will. You say he had faith reaching far out 
— to where — to what ? " 

"He said there would never be rest in all the universe 
until we find everywhere God, — living — creating — 
moving forever in the — the — all." She held out her 
hands and extended her arms in an encompassing move- 
ment indescribably full of grace. 

"You mean he was a pantheist ?" 

"Oh, no, no. That is to you a horror, I see, but it 



THE VIOLIN 273 

was not that." She laughed again, so merrily that Harry 
laughed, too. But still he persisted, "Amalia — never 
mind what your father thought; tell me your own faith." 

Then she grew grave, "My faith is — just — God. In 
the all. Seeing — feeling — knowing — with us — for us 

— never away — in the deep night of sorrow — under- 
standing. In the far wilderness — hearing. In the terror 
and remorse of the heart — when we weep for sin — loving. 
It is only one thing in all the world to learn, and that is to 
learn all things, just to reach out the mind, and touch 
God — to find his love in the heart and so always live in 
the perfect music of God. That is the wonderful harmony 

— and melody — and growth — of each little soul — and 
of all peoples, all worlds, — Oh, it is the universe of love 
God gives to us." 

For a while they were silent, and Madam Manovska be- 
gan to move about the cabin, setting the things in order. 
She did not seem to have taken any interest in their talk. 
Harry rose to go, but first he looked in Amalia's eyes. 

"The perfect Music of God ? " He said the words slowly 
and questioningly. 

"You understand my meaning?" 

" I can't say. Do you ? " 

She quickly snatched up her violin which lay within 
reach of her arm. "I can better show you." She drew a 
long chord, then from it wandered into a melody, sweet and 
delicate ; then she drew other chords, and on into other 
melodies, all related; then she began to talk again. "It is 
only on two strings I am playing — for hear ? the others 
are now souls out of the music of God — listen — " she 
drew her bow across the discordant strings. "How that is 



274 THE EYE OF DREAD 

terrible! So God creates great and beautiful laws — " 
she went back into the harmony and perfect melody, and 
played on, now changing to the discordant strain, and back, 
as she talked — " and gives to all people power to under- 
stand, but not through weakness — but through longing and 
searching with big earnestness of purpose, and much desire. 
Who has no care and desire for the music of God, strikes 
always those wrong notes, and all suffer as our ears suffer 
with the bad sounds. So it is, through long desiring, and 
living, always a little and a little more perceiving, reaching 
out the hand to touch in love our brothers and sisters on the 
earth, — always with patience learning to find in our own 
souls the note that strikes in harmony with the great thought 
of God — and thus we understand and live in the music of 
God. Ah, it is hard for me to say it — but it is as if our 
souls are given wings — wings — that reach — from the 
gold of the sun — even to the earth at our feet, and we 
float upon that great harmony of love like upon a wonderful 
upbearing sea, and never can we sink, and ever all is well 

— for we live in the thought of God." 

" Amalia — Amalia — How about sin, and the one who 

— kills — and the ones who hate — and the little children 
brought into the world in sin — " Harry's voice trembled, 
and he bowed his head in his hands. 

"Never is anything lost. They are the ones who have 
not yet learned — they have not found the key to God's 
music. Those who find must quickly help and give and 
teach the little children — the little children find so easily 
the key — but to all the strings making horrible discord on 
the earth — we dare not shut our ears and hide — so do the 
sweet, good sisters in the convent. They do their little to 



THE VIOLIN 275 

teach the little children, but it is always to shut their ears. 
But the Christ went out in the world, not with hands over 
his ears, but outreached to his brothers and sisters on the 
earth. But my father — my father ! He turned away 
from the church, because he saw they had not found the true 
key to God's music — or I mean they kept it always hid, 
and covered with much — how shall I say — with much 
drapery ■ — and golden coverings, that the truth — that is 
the key — was lost to sight. It was for this my father 
quarreled with — all that he thought not the truth. He 
believed to set his people free both from the world's oppres- 
sion and from their own ignorance, and give to them a truth 
uncovered. Oh, it set his old friends in great discord more 
than ever — for they could not make thus God's music. 
And so they rose up and threw him in prison, and all the 
terrible things came upon him — of the world. My mother 
must have been very able through love to drag him free 
from them, even if they did pursue. It was the conflict of 
discord he felt all his life, and now he is free." 

Suddenly the mother's deep tones sounded through the 
cabin with a finality that made them both start. "Yes. 
Now he is free — and yet will he bring them to — know. 
We wait for him here. No more must he go to Poland. It 
is not the will of God." 

Still Harry was not satisfied. " But if you think all these 
great thoughts — and you do — I can't see how you can 
quote those legends as if you thought them true." 

" I quote them, yes, because I love them, and their poetry. 
Through all beauty — all sweetness — all strength — God 
brings to us his thought. This I believe. I believe the 
saints lived and were holy and good, loving the great 



276 THE EYE OF DREAD 

brotherhood. Why may not they be given the work of 
love still to do ? It is all in the music of God, that they 
live, and make happy, and why should I believe that it is 
now taken from them to do good ? Much that I think lies 
deep in my heart, and I cannot tell it in words." 

"Nor can I. But my thoughts — " For an instant 
Amalia, looking at him, saw in his face the same look of 
inward fear — or rather of despair that had appalled Larry, 
but it went as quickly as it appeared, and she wondered 
afterward if she had really seen it, or if it was a strange 
trick of the firelight in the windowless cabin. 

"And your thoughts, Mr. 'Arry ?" 

"They are not to be told." Again he rose to go, and stood 
and looked down on her, smiling. "I see you have already 
tried the crutches." 

"Yes. I found them in the snow, before the door. How 
I got there? I did hop. It was as if the good angels 
had come in the night. I wake and something make me 
all glad — and I go to the door to look at the whiteness, and 
then I am sorry, because of Sir Kildene, then I see before 
me — while that I stand on one foot, and hop — hop — 
hop — so, I see the crutch lie in the snow. Oh, Mr. 'Any, 
now so pale you are ! It is that you have worked in the 
night to make them — Is not ? That is sorrowful to me. 
But now will I do for you pleasant things, because I can 
move to do them on these, where before I must always sit still 
— still — Ah, how that is hard to do ! One good thing comes 
to me of this hurt. It makes the old shoes to last longer. 
How is it never to wear out shoes ? Never to walk in them." 

Harry laughed. "We'll have to make you some 
moccasins." 



THE VIOLIN 277 

"And what is moccasins? Ah, yes, the Indian shoe. I 
like them well, so soft they must be, and so pretty with the 
beads. I have seen once such shoes on one little Indian 
child. Her mother made them." 

Then Harry made her try the crutches to be sure they 
were quite right, and, seeing that they were a little too long, 
he measured them with care, and carried them back to the 
shed, and there he shortened them and polished them with 
sand and a piece of flint, until he succeeded in making a 
very workmanlike job of them. 

At noon he brought them back, and stood in the doorway 
a moment beside her, looking out through the whiteness 
upon the transformed world. In spite of what that snow 
might mean to Larry Kildene, and through him to them, of 
calamity, maybe death, a certain elation possessed Harry. 
His body was braced to unusual energy by the keen, pure 
air, and his spirit enthralled and lifted to unconscious adora- 
tion by the vast mystery of a beauty, subtle and ethereal 
in its hushed eloquence. From the zenith through white- 
ness to whiteness the flakes sifted from the sky like a 
filmy bride's veil thrown over the blue of the farthest and 
highest peaks, and swaying soft folds of lucent whiteness 
upon the earth — the trees — and upon the cabin, and as 
they stood there, closing them in together — the very center 
of mystery, their own souls. Again the passion swept 
through him, to gather her in his arms, and he held himself 
sternly and stiffly against it, and would have said some- 
thing simple and common to break the spell, but he only 
faltered and looked down on his hands spread out before 
her, and what he said was : "Do you see blood on them ?" 

"Ah, no. Did you hurt your hand to cause blood on 



278 THE EYE OF DREAD 

them, and to make those crutch for me?" she cried in 
consternation. 

"No, no. It's nothing. I have not hurt my hand. See, 
there's no blood on the crutches." He glanced at them as 
she leaned her weight on them there at his side, with a 
feeling of relief. It seemed as if they must show a stain, 
yet why should it be blood? "Come in. It's too cold 
for you to stand in the door with no shawl. I mean to put 
enough wood in here to last you the rest of the day — and 
go-" 

" Mr. 'Arry ! Not to leave us ? No, it is no need you go 
— for why ? " 

Her terror touched him. "No, I would not go again and 
leave you and your mother alone — not to save my soul. 
As you say, there is no need — as long as it is so still and the 
clouds are thin the snow will do little harm. It would be the 
driving, fine snow and the drifts that would delay him." 

"Yes, snow as we have it in the terrible Russia. I know 
such snow well," said Madam Manovska. 

They went in and closed the door, and sat down to eat. 
The meal was lighted only by the dancing flames from the 
hearth, and their faces glowed in the fitful light. Always 
the meals were conducted with a certain stately ceremony 
which made the lack of dishes, other than the shaped slabs 
of wood sawn from the ends of logs — odd make-shifts 
invented by Harry, seem merely an accident of the moment, 
while the bits of lace-edged linen that Amalia provided from 
their little store seemed quite in harmony with the air of 
grace and gentleness that surrounded the two women. It 
was as if they were using a service of silver and Sevres, and 
to have missed the graciousness of their ministrations, now 



THE VIOLIN 279 

that he had lived for a little while with them, would have 
been sorrow indeed. 

He even forgot that he was clothed in rags, and wore them 
as if they were the faultless garments of a prince. It was 
only when he was alone that he looked down on them and 
sighed. One day he had come to the cabin to ask if he 
might take for a little while a needle and thread, but when he 
got there, the conversation wandered to discussion of the 
writers and the tragedies of the various nations and of their 
poets, and the needle and thread were forgotten. 

To-day, as the snow fell, it reminded Amalia of his need, 
and she begged him to stay with them a little to see what 
the box he had rescued for them contained. He yielded, 
and, taking up the violin, he held it a moment to his chin as 
if he would play, then laid it down again without drawing 
the bow across it. 

"Ah, Mr. 'Any, it is that you play," cried Amalia, in 
delight. " I know it. No man takes in his hand the violin 
thus, if he do not play." 

"I had a friend once who played. No, I can't." He 
turned away from it sadly, and she gently laid it back in its 
box, and caught up a piece of heavy material. 

"Look. It is a little of this left. It is for you. My 
mother has much skill to make garments. Let us sew for 
you the blouse." 

"Yes, I'll do that gladly. I have no other way to keep 
myself decent before you." 

"What would you have? All must serve or we die." 
Madam Manovska spoke, "It is well, Sir 'Arry King, you 
carry your head like one prince, for I will make of you one 
peasant in this blouse." 



28o THE EYE OF DREAD 

The two women laughed and measured him, and conferred 
volubly together in their own tongue, and he went out from 
their presence feeling that no prince had ever been so 
honored. They took also from their store warm socks of 
wool and gave him. Sadly he needed them, as he realized 
when he stepped out from their door, and the soft snow 
closed around his feet, chilling them with the cold. 

As he looked up in the sky he saw the clouds were break- 
ing, and the sun glowed through them like a great pale gold 
moon, even though the flakes continued to veil thinly the 
distance. His heart lightened and he went back to the 
cabin to tell them the good news, and to ask them to pray 
for clear skies to-morrow. Having been reared in a rigidly 
puritanic school of thought, the time was, when first he knew 
them, that the freedom with which Amalia spoke of the 
Deity, and of the Christ, and the saints, and her prayers, 
fell strangely upon his unaccustomed ears. He was re- 
served religiously, and seemed to think any mention of such 
topics should be made with bated breath, and the utmost 
solemnity. Often it had been in his mind to ask her con- 
cerning her beliefs, but his shyness on such themes had pre- 
vented. 

Now that he had asked her he still wondered. He was 
used to feel that no one could be really devout, and yet 
speak so freely. Why — he could not have told. But now 
he began to understand, yet it was but a beginning. Could 
it be that she belonged to no church ? Was it some sect of 
which he had never heard to which they belonged ? If so, 
it must be a true faith, or it never could have upheld them 
through all their wanderings and afflictions, and, as he 
pondered, he found himself filled with a measure of the 



THE VIOLIN 



281 



same trustful peace. During their flight across the plains 
together he had come to rest in them, and when his heart 
was too heavy to dare address the Deity in his own words, 
it was balm to his hurt spirit to hear them at their devotions 
as if thus God were drawn nearer him. 

This time, whether he might lay it to their prayers or no, 
his hopes were fulfilled. The evening brought a clear sun- 
set, and during the next day the snow melted and soon was 
gone, and a breeze sprang up and the clouds drifted away, 
and for several days thereafter the weather continued clear 
and dry. 

Now often he brought his horse to the door, and lifted 
Amalia to the saddle and walked at her side, fearing 
she might rest her foot too firmly in the stirrup and so lose 
control of the horse in her pain. Always their way took 
them to the falls. And always he listened while Amalia 
talked. He allowed himself only the most meager liberty of 
expression. Distant and cold his manner often seemed to 
her, but intuitively she respected his moods, if moods they 
might be called : she suspected not. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE BEAST ON THE TRAIL 

A week after the first snowfall Larry Kildene returned. 
He had lingered long after he should have taken the trail 
and had gone farther than he had dreamed of going when he 
parted from his three companions on the mountain top. 
All day long the snow had been falling, and for the last 
few miles he had found it almost impossible to crawl up- 
ward. Fortunately there had been no wind, and the snow 
lay as it had fallen, covering the trail so completely that 
only Larry Kildene himself could have kept it — he and 
his horse — yet not impeding his progress with drifts to be 
tunneled through. 

Harry King had been growing more and more uneasy 
during the day, and had kept the trail from the cabin to 
the turn of the cliff clear of snow, but below that point he 
did not think it wise to go : he could not, indeed. There, 
however, he stationed himself to wait through the night, 
and just beyond the turn he built a fire, thinking it might 
send a light into the darkness to greet Larry, should he 
happen to be toiling through the snow. 

He did not arouse the fears of Amalia by telling her he 
meant to keep watch all night on the cliff, but he asked her 
for a brew of Larry Kildene's coffee — of which they had 
been most sparing — when he left them after the evening 
meal, and it was given him without a thought, as he had 
been all day working in the snow, and the request seemed 

282 



THE BEAST ON THE TRAIL 283 

natural. He asked that he might have it in the great kettle 
in which they prepared it, and carried it with him to the 
fodder shed. 

Darkness had settled over the mountain when, after an 
hour's rest, he returned to the top of the trail and mended 
his fire and placed his kettle near enough to keep the con- 
tents hot. Through half the night he waited thus, some- 
times walking about and peering into the obscurity below, 
sometimes replenishing his fire, and sometimes just pa- 
tiently sitting, his arms clasped about his knees, gazing 
into space and brooding. ' 

Many times had Harry King been lonely, but never had 
the awesomeness of life and its mysterious leadings so im- 
pressed him as during this night's vigil. Moses alone 
on the mountain top, carried there and left where he might 
see into the promised land — the land toward which he had 
been aided miraculously to lead his people, but which he 
might not enter because of one sin, — one only transgres- 
sion, — Elijah sitting alone in the wilderness waiting for 
the revealing of God — waiting heartbroken and weary, 
vicariously bearing in his own spirit regrets and sorrows 
over the waywardness of his people Israel, — and John, the 
forerunner — a "Voice crying in the wilderness * Repent 
ye!'" — these were not so lonely, for their God was 
with them and had led them by direct communication and 
miraculous power ; they were not lonely as Cain was lonely, 
stained with a brother's blood, cast out from among his 
fellows, hunted and haunted by his own guilt. 

Silence profound and indescribable reigned, while the 
great, soft flakes continued to drift slowly down, silent — 
silent — as the grave, and above and beneath and on all 



284 THE EYE OF DREAD 

sides the same absolute neutrality of tint, vague and soft ; 
yet the reality of the rugged mountain even so obscured 
and covered, remained; its cliffs and crags below, deadly 
and ragged, and fearful to look down upon, and skirting 
its sides the long, weary trail, up which at that very moment 
a man might be toiling, suffering, even to the limit of 
death — might be giving his life for the two women and the 
man who had come to him so suddenly out of the unknown ; 
strange, passing strange it all was. 

Again and again Harry rose and replenished the fire and 
stamped about, shaking from his shoulders the little heaps 
of snow that had collected there. The flames rose high in 
the still air and stained the snow around his bonfire a rosy 
red. The redness of the fire-stained snow was not more 
deep and vital than the red blood pulsing through his heart. 
With all a strong man's virility and power he loved as only 
the strong can love, and through all his brooding that under- 
current ran like a swift and mighty river, — love, stronger 
than hate, — love, triumphing over death, — love, deeper 
than hell, — love, lifting to the zenith of heaven ; — only 
two things seemed to him verities at that moment, God 
above, and love within, — two overwhelming truths, 
terrible in their power, all-consuming in their sweetness, 
one in their vast, incomprehensible entity of force, benefi- 
cent, to be forever sought for and chosen out of all the 
universe of good. 

The true meaning of Amalia's faith, as she had brokenly 
tried to explain it to him, dawned on his understanding. 
God, — love, truth, and power, — annihilating evil as light 
eats up darkness, drawing all into the great " harmony of 
the music of God." 



THE BEAST ON THE TRAIL 285 

Sitting there in the red light of the fire with the snow 
falling around him, he knew what he must do first to come 
into the harmony. He must take up his burden and de- 
clare the truth, and suffer the result, no matter what it 
might be. Keen were all the impressions and visions of his 
mind. Even while he could see Amalia sleeping in the 
cabin, and could feel her soft breath on his cheek, could feel 
her in his arms, — could hear her prayers for Larry Kil- 
dene's safety as at that moment he might be coming to 
them, — he knew that the mighty river of his love must be 
held back by a masterful will — must be dammed back 
until its floods deepened into an ocean of tranquillity while 
he rose above his loneliness and his fierce longing, — loving 
her, yet making no avowal, — holding her in his heart, yet 
never disturbing her peace of spirit by his own heart's 
tumult, — clinging to her night and day, yet relinquishing 
her. 

And out of this resolution, against which his nature cried 
and beat itself, he saw, serene, and more lonely than Moses 
or Elijah, — beautiful, and near to him as his love, the 
Christ taken to the high places, even the pinnacle of the 
temple — and the mountain peak, overlooking the worlds 
and the kingdoms thereof, and turning from them all to 
look down on him with a countenance of ineffable beauty — 
the love that dies not. 

He lifted his head. The visions were gone. Had he 
slept? The fire was burning low and a long line was 
streaked across the eastern sky ; a line of gold, while still 
darkness rested below him and around him. Again he 
built up the fire, and set the kettle closer. He stood out 
on the height at the top of the trail and listened, his figure 



286 THE EYE OF DREAD 

a black silhouette against the dancing flames. He called, 
he shouted with all his power, then listened. Did he hear 
a call? Surely it must be. He plunged downward and 
called again, and again came the faint response. In his 
hand he carried a long pole, and with it he prodded about 
in the snow for sure footing and continued to descend, 
calling from time to time, and rejoicing to hear the an- 
swering call. Yes, Larry Kildene was below him in the 
obscurity, and now his voice came up to Harry, long and 
clear. He had not far to go ere he saw the big man slowly 
toiling upward through the dusk of dawn. He had dis- 
mounted, and the weary animals were following behind. 

Thus Larry Kildene came back to his mountain. Ex- 
hausted, he still made light of his achievement — climbing 
through day and night to arrive before the snow should 
embank around him. He stood in the firelight swaying 
with weariness and tasted the hot coffee and shook his 
grizzled head and laughed. The animals came slowly on 
and stood close to him, almost resting their noses on his 
shoulder, while Harry King gazed on him with admiration. 

" Now if it weren't for the poor beasts, I'd lie down here 
by the fire and sleep rather than take a step farther to-night. 
To-night ? Why — it's morning ! Isn't it ? I never 
thought we were so near the end. If I hadn't seen the fire 
a long way down, I would have risked another bivouac for 
the rest of the night. We might have lived through it — 
I don't know, but this is better." He rubbed the nose of 
his panting horse. "I shall drop to sleep if we don't move 



on. 



A thin blue smoke was rising from the chimney as they 
passed the cabin, but Amalia, kneeling before the hearth, 



THE BEAST ON THE TRAIL 287 

did not know they were near. Harry wondered if Larry 
had forgotten the mother's hallucination about her husband, 
yet forbore to mention it, thinking it best to get him into his 
bunk first. But he had not forgotten. When Harry came 
into the shed after stabling the horses, he found Larry 
sitting before the chimney fire warming his knees and 
smoking. 

"Give me a little more of that coffee, Harry, and let's 
talk a bit before I turn in for the day. There's the mother, 
now ; she still thinks as she did ? I'll not see them until 
this evening — when I may feel able to meet the question, 
and, lad, tell them what you please, but — better not let 
the mother know I'm here until I can see her." 

"Then, if you'll go to bed now, I'll bring your food up. 
I'll tell Amalia, of course." 

"I'm not hungry — only weary. Don't bother the 
women about food. After a day and night of sleep I'll be 
quite fit again. Man ! But it's good to be back into the 
peace of the hills ! I've been down where the waves of 
civilization roar. Yes, yes; I'll go to my bunk after a bit. 
The great menace to our tranquillity here for the winter is 
the mother." 

"But she has improved." 

"Good, good. How?" 

"She thinks of things around her — and — takes care 
of the cabin since Amalia's hurt." 

"Hurt? How's that?" 

" She sprained her ankle — only, but enough to lay her up 
for a while." 

"I see. Shook her mother out of her dreams." 
t "Not entirely. I think the improvement comes more 



288 THE EYE OF DREAD 

from her firm conviction that you are to bring her husband 
with you, and Amalia agrees with me. If you have an 
excuse that will satisfy her — " 

"I see. She was satisfied in her mind that he was alive 
and would come to her — I see. Keep her quiet until I 
wake up and then we'll find a way out — if the truth is 
impossible. Now I'll sleep — for a day and a night and a 
day — as long as I've been on that forced march. It was 
to go back, or try to push through — or die — and I pushed 
through." 

"Don't sleep until I've brought you some hot broth* 
I'm sure they have it down there." 

"I'll be glad of it, yes." 

But he could not keep awake. Before Harry could 
throw another log on the fire he was asleep. Then Harry 
gently drew an army blanket over him and went out to the 
stable. There he saddled his own horse and led him to- 
ward the cabin. Before he reached it he saw Amalia com- 
ing to meet him, hobbling on her crutch. She was bare- 
headed and the light of morning was in her eyes. 

"Ah, 'Arry, 'Any King! He has come. I see here 
marks of feet of horses in the snow — is not ? Is well ? Is 
safe ? Larry Kildene so noble and kind ! Yes. My 
mother? No, she prepares the food, and me, I shut 
the door when I run out to see is it sun to-day and the 
terrible snow no more falling. There I see the marks 
of horses, yes." She spoke excitedly, and looked up in 
Harry's face with smiles on her lips and anxious appeal in 
her eyes. 

"Throw down that crutch and lean on me. I'll lift you 
up — There ! Now we'll go back to the cabin and -lead 



THE BEAST ON THE TRAIL 289 

Goldbug around a bit, so his tracks will cover the others 
and account for them. Then after breakfast I'll take you 
to the top of the trail and tell you." 

She leaned down to him from her seat on the horse and 
put her hand on his shoulder. "Is well ? And you — you 
have not slept ? No ? " 

Looking up in her face so wonderful and beautiful, so 
filled with tender solicitude for him, and her glowing eyes 
fixed on his, he was covered with confusion even to scarcely 
comprehending what she said. He took the hand from his 
shoulder and kissed the tips of her fingers, then dropped it 
and walked on ahead, leading the horse. 

"I'm well, ye£. Tired a bit, but, oh, yes ! Larry Kil- 
dene ? He's all right. We'll go out on the trail and con- 
sult — what is best to do about your mother — and say 
nothing until then." 

To Amalia a kiss on the finger tips meant no more than 
the usual morning greeting in her own country, and she 
rode on undisturbed by his demonstration, which he felt 
keenly and for which he would have knelt and begged her 
pardon. Ever since his first unguarded moment when he 
returned and found her fainting on the hillside, he had set 
such rigid watch over his actions that his adoration had been 
expressed only in service — for the most part silent and 
with averted eyes. This aloofness she felt, and with the 
fineness of her nature respected, letting her own play of 
imagination hover away from intimate intrusion, merely 
lightening the somber relationship that would otherwise 
have existed, like a breeze that stirs only the surface of 
a deep pool and sets dancing lights at play but leaves the 
depths undisturbed. 



2qo THE EYE OF DREAD 

Yet, with all her intuitiveness, she found him difficult and 
enigmatic. An impenetrable wall seemed to be ever be- 
tween them, erected by his will, not hers; therefore she 
would not try by the least suggestion of manner, or even of 
thought, to know why, nor would she admit to her own spirit 
the hurt of it. The walled inclosure of his heart was his, 
and she must remain without. To have attempted by any 
art to get within the boundaries he had set she felt to be 
unmaidenly. 

In spite of his strength and vigor, Harry was very weary. 
But less from his long night's vigil than from the emotions 
that had torn him and left his heart heavy with the neces- 
sity of covering always this strong, elemental love that 
smoldered, waiting in abeyance until it might leap into con- 
suming flame. 

During the breakfast Harry sat silent, while the two 
women talked a little with each other, speculating as to the 
weather, and rejoicing that the morning was again clear. 
Then while her mother was occupied, Amalia, unnoticed, 
gave him the broth to carry up to the shed, and there, as 
Larry still slept, he set it near the fire that it might be warm 
and ready for him should he wake during their absence. 
At the cabin he brought wood and laid it beside the hearth, 
and looked about to see if there were anything more he 
could do before he spoke. 

"Madam Manovska, Amalia and I are going up the trail 
a little way, and we may be gone some time, but — I'll 
take good care of her." He smiled reassuringly: "We 
mustn't waste the sunny days. When Mr. Kildene re- 
turns, you also must ride sometimes." 

"Ah, yes. When? When? It is long — very long." 



THE BEAST ON THE TRAIL 291 

"But, maybe, not so long, mamma. Soon now must he 
come. I think it." 

They left her standing in the door as they went off 
up the trail, the glistening snow making the world so 
dazzling in the sunlight, so blinding to her eyes, used to 
the obscurity of the cabin, that the many tracks past the 
door were unnoticed by her. In silence they walked 
until they had almost reached the turn, when Amalia 
spoke. 

' ' Have you look, how I use but the one crutch, 'Any King ? 
Soon will I again walk on my foot, very well. I have so 
many times to thank you. Now of mamma we must speak. 
She thinks only, every day, every hour, of my father. If 
we shall speak the truth to her — I do not know. What 
she will do — we cannot tell. No. And it is well to keep 
her heart from too much sorrow. For Sir Kildene, he must 
not be afflicted by us — my mamma and I. We have 
take from him his house, and he is banish — all for us, to 
make pleasant, and what we can do is little, so little — and 
if my mamma sit always silent when we should be gay to 
each other and make happy the days, is not good, and all his 
peace will be gone. Now talk to me a little of your thoughts, 
'Any King." 

" My thoughts must be like yours, Amalia, if I would have 
them wise. It's best to leave her as undisturbed as possible 
until spring. The months will go by rapidly. He will not 
be troubled. Then we can take her to some place, where 
I will see to it that you are cared for — " 

The horse suddenly stopped and settled back on his 
haunches and lifted his head, looking wildly about. Harry 
sprang to the bridle, but he did not try to get away, and only 



292 THE EYE OF DREAD 

stood quivering and breathing loudly as if in the direst fear, 
and leaned close to Harry for protection. 

"What ails you? Good horse." Harry petted and 
coaxed, but he refused to move on, and showed every sign 
of frantic fear. "I can't think what possesses him. He's 
afraid, but of what ?" 

"There ! There !" cried Amalia, pointing to the top of 
the trail at the cliff. "It's the beast. I have read of it 
— so terrible! Ah!" ' 

"Surely. That's a mountain lion; Goldbug scented 
him before he rounded the cliff. They're cowards ; never 
fear." He shouted and flung his arm in the air, but did 
not dare let the bridle rein go for fear the horse would bolt 
with her. For a moment the beast stood regarding them, 
then turned and trotted off in a leisurely fashion. 

"'Any, take my hand one minute. I am like the horse, 
afraid. If that animal had come when we were alone on 
the mountain in that night — it is my heart that will not 
stand still." 

"Don't be afraid now. He's gone. He was hunting 
there where I was last night, and no doubt he smells the 
horses that came up the mountain early this morning. It 
is the snow that has driven him out of the canon to hunt 
for food." He let her cling to his hand and stood quietly, 
petting and soothing the horse. 

"All night? 'Any King, you were there all night? 
Why ?" she shivered, and, bending down, looked steadily in 
his eyes. 

"I had a fire. There was no danger. There is more 
danger for me in — "he cut his words short. " Shall we go 
on now ? Or would you rather turn back ?" 



THE BEAST ON THE TRAIL 293 

She drew herself up and released his hand; still she trem- 
bled. " I will be brave like you are brave. If you so desire, 
we go on." 

" You are really braver than I. Then we'll go a few 
steps farther. " But the horse would not go on. He snorted 
and quivered and pulled back. Harry looked up at Ama* 
lia. She sat calmly waiting, but was very pale. Then he 
yielded to the horse, and, turning, led him back toward the 
cabin. She drew a long sigh of relief then, and glanced at 
him, and they both laughed. 

" You see I am the coward, to only make believe I am 
not afraid. I am very afraid, and now more than always 
will I be afraid when that you go to hunt. 'Any King, go 
no more alone." Her voice was low and pleading. " There 
is much to do. I will teach you to speak the French, like 
you have once said you wish to learn. Then is the book to 
write. Is much to do that is very pleasant. But of those 
wild lions on the hills, they are not for a man to fight alone." 
He restrained the horse, and walked slowly at her side, his 
hand on the pommel of the saddle, but did not speak. 
" You promise not ? All night you stay in the cold, where is 
danger, and how may I know you will not again do such a 
thing ? All is beautiful here, and great happiness may be 
if — if that you do no tragedy." So sweetly did she plead 
he could no longer remain silent. 

" There is only one happiness for me in life, Amalia, and 
that is forbidden me. I have expiation to make before I 
may ask happiness of heaven. You have been most patient 
with my silences — always — will you be patient still — 
and — understand ? " 

She drew in her breath sharply and turned her face away 



294 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



from him, and for, a moment was silent; then she spoke. 
Her voice was very low, and very sweet. " What is right, 
that must be. Always." 

Then they spoke again of Madam Manovska, and Amalia 
opened her heart to him as never before. It seemed as if 
she would turn his thoughts from whatever sorrow might 
be hanging over him, and impress him with the feeling that 
no matter what might be the cause of his reserve, or what 
wrong he might have done, her faith in him remained un- 
shaken. It was a sweet return for his stammered confession. 



CHAPTER XXin 

A DISCOURSE ON LYING 

All day Larry Kildene slept, hardly waking long enough 
toward nightfall to drink his broth, but the next day he 
was refreshed and merry. 

1 ' Leave Madam Manovska alone/' he admonished Harry. 
" Take Amalia off for another ride, and I'll go down to the 
cabin, and if there's a way to set her mind at rest about 
her husband, I'll find it. I'd not be willing to take an oath 
on what I may tell her, but it will be satisfying, never fear." 

The ride was a short one, for the air was chill, and there 
were more signs of snow, but when they returned to the 
cabin, they found Larry seated by the fire, drinking a brew 
of Madam's tea and conversing with her joyously about his 
trip and what he had seen of the new railroad. It was 
curious how he had succeeded in bringing her to take an 
interest in things quite alien to her. The very atmosphere 
of the cabin seemed to be cleared by his presence, big, 
genial, and all-embracing. Certainly nothing of the recluse 
appeared in his demeanor. Only when they were alone 
in their own quarters did he show occasionally a longing for 
the old condition of unmolested tranquillity. To go to his 
dinner at a set hour, no matter how well prepared it might 
be, annoyed him. 

"There's no reason in life why they should get a meal 
ready merely because a timepiece says twelve o'clock. 

29s 



296 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Let them wait until a man's hungry," he would grumble. 
Then, arrived at the cabin, he would be all courtesy and 
geniality. 

When Harry rallied him on his inconsistency, he gravely 
replied: "An Irish gentleman is an Irish gentleman the 
world over, no matter where you find him, in court, camp, 
or wilderness; it's all one to him. Why do you think I 
brought that mirror you shave by all the way up the moun- 
tain ? Why, to have a body to look at now and again, and 
to blarney, just that I might not forget the trick. What 
was the good of that, do you ask ? Look at yourself, man. 
You're a dour Scotchman, that's what you are, and you 
keep your humor done up in a wet blanket, and when it 
glints out of the corner of your eye a bit, you draw down 
the corners of your mouth to belie it. What's the good of 
that, now ? The world's a rough place to walk in for the 
most part, especially for women, and if a man carries a 
smile on his face and a bit of blarney on the tip of his tongue, 
he smooths the way for them. Now, there's Madam Ma- 
novska. What would you and Amalia have done to her ? 
Driven her clean out of her head with your bungling. In a 
case like hers you must be very discreet, and lead her around, 
by the way she wants to go, to a place of safety." 

Harry smiled. Since his avowal to Amalia of his deter- 
mination to make expiation for the crime that clouded his 
life, he had grown more cheerful and less restrained in 
manner. He would accept the present happiness, and so 
far as he could without wrong to her, he would fill his hours 
with the joy of her companionship, and his love should 
dominate him, and his heart should revel in the thought 
of her, and her nearness to him ; then when the spring should 



A DISCOURSE ON LYING 297 

come and melt the snowy barriers between him and the 
world below, he would go down and make his expiation, 
drinking the bitter cup to the dregs. 

This happy imprisonment on the mountain top with these 
two refined women and this kindly man with the friendly 
heart and splendid body and brain, he deemed worth a 
lifetime spent more sordidly. Here and now, he felt him- 
self able to weigh true values, and learned that the usual 
ambitions of mortals — houses and gear and places of pre- 
cedence — could become the end of existence only to those 
whose desires had become distorted by the world's estimates. 
Now he understood how a man might live for a woman's 
smile, or give his life for the touch of her hand, and how 
he might hunger for the pressing of children's lips to his 
own. The warm friendships of life grew to their true 
proportions in the vast scheme of things, as he looked 
in the big man's eyes and answered his kindly banter. 

" I see. It takes a genius to be a discreet and wise liar, 
Amalia's lacking there — for me, I might learn. Now 
pocket your blarney long enough to tell me why you called 
me a Scotchman." 

"How would I know the difference between a broncho 
and a mule? By the earmarks, boy. I've lived in the 
world long enough to know men. If there be only a drop 
of Scotch blood in a man, he shows it. Like the mule he 
brays at the wrong time, or he settles back and stands when 
he should go forward. Oh, there's many a sign to enlighten 
the wise." 

He rose and knocked the ashes from his pipe and thrust it 
in his pocket and began to look over his pack, which had not 
been opened. Two good-sized sacks hung on either side 



298 THE EYE OF DREAD 

of the pack mule had held most of his purchases, all care- 
fully tied in separate bundles. The good man had not been 
sparing of his gold. Since he had so long exiled himself, 
having no use for what he had accumulated, he had now 
reveled in spending. 

"We're to live like lords and ladies, now, Harry. I've 
two silver plates, and they're for the ladies. For us, we'll 
eat off the tin as before. And silver mugs for their drink. 
See? I would have got them china but it's too likely to 
break. Now, here's a luxury I've brought, and it was 
heavy to carry, too. Here's twenty-four panes of glass, 
I carried them, twelve on each side of my horse, like that, 
slung so, see? That's two windows of two sash each, 
and six panes to a sash. Oh, they're small, but see what a 
luxury for the women to do their pretty work by. And 
there's work for you, to be making the sash. I've done 
my share of that sort of thing in building the cabin for 
you, and then — young man — I'll set you to digging 
out the gold. That's work that'll put the worth of your 
body to the test, and the day will come when you'll need 
it." 

"I doubt my ever having much need of gold, but what- 
ever you set me at I'll do to the best of my ability." 

"You may have your doubts, but I have none. Men are 
like bees ; they must ever be laying by something, even if 
they have no use for it." As Larry talked he continued 
to sort over his purchases, and Harry looked on, astounded 
at their variety and number. 

While apparently oblivious of the younger man's interest, 
and absorbed in his occupation, whistling, and turning the 
bundles over in his hands as he tallied them off, he now 



A DISCOURSE ON LYING 299 

and then shot a keen glance in his companion's face. He 
had noticed the change in Harry, and was alert to learn 
the cause. He found him more talkative, more eager and 
awake. He suspected Harry had passed through some 
mental crisis, but of what nature he was at a loss to deter- 
mine. Certainly it had made him a more agreeable com- 
panion than the gloom of his former manner. 

" I'll dig for the gold, indeed I will, but I'd like to go on a 
hunt now and then. I'd like a shot at the beast we saw 
sniffing over the spot where I sat all night waiting for you 
to appear. It will no longer be safe for Amalia to wander 
about alone as she did before she hurt her ankle." 

"The creature was after sheep. He'll find his prey grow- 
ing scarcer now that the railroad is so near. In ten years 
or less these mountain sheep will be extinct. That's the re- 
sult of civilization, my boy." 

"I'd like to shoot this panther, though." 

"We'll have to set a bait for him — and that means a 
deer or a sheep must go. We'll do it soon, too." 

"You've reconciled Madam Manovska to your coming 
home without her husband ! I didn't think it possible. 
Give me a lesson in diplomacy, will you ?" 

"Wait till I light my pipe. Now. First, you must know 
there are several kinds of lying, and you must learn which 
kinds are permissible — and otherwise." With his pipe 
between his teeth, Larry stood, a mock gravity about his 
mouth, and a humorous twinkle in his eyes, while he looked 
down on Harry, and told off the lies on his fingers. 

"First, there's the fool's lie — you'll know it because 
there's no purpose in it, and there's the rogue's lie, — and 
as we're neither fools nor rogues we'll class them both as 



3 oo THE EYE OF DREAD 

— otherwise ; then there's the lie of pride, and, as that goes 
along with the fool's lie, we'll throw it out with the — 
otherwise — and the coward's lie also goes with the other- 
wise." Larry shook his fingers as if he tossed the four lies 
off from their tips, and began again. "Now. Here's 
the friend's lie — a man risks his soul to save a friend — 
good — or to help him out of trouble — very well. And 
then there's the lover's lie, it's what a lad tells his sweet- 
heart — that goes along with what she tells him — and 
comes by way of nature — " 

"Or you might class it along with your own blarney." 

"Let be, lad. I'm teaching you the diplomacy, now. 
Then there's the lie of shame, and the lie of sorrow, wherein 
a man puts by, for his own loved one's sake, or his self- 
respect, what's better covered ; that, too, comes by way of 
nature, even as a dog crawls away to die alone, and we'll 
accept it. Now comes the lie of the man who would tell 
a good tale for the amusement of his friends; very well, 
the nature of man loves it, so we'll count it in, and along 
with it comes a host of little lies like the sportsman's lie 
and the traveler's lie — they all help to make life merry, 
and the world can ill do without them. But now comes the 
lie of circumspection. You must learn to lie it without 
lying. See ? It's the lie of wisdom, and it's a very subtle 
thing, and easily abused. If a man uses it for a selfish 
cause and merely to pervert the truth, it's a black lie, and 
one of the very worst. Or he may use it in a good cause, 
and it's fairly white. It must be used with discrimination. 
That's the lie I used for the poor Madam down there." 

" But what did you say ? " 

"She says to me, 'And where is my 'usband?' I reply, 



A DISCOURSE ON LYING 301 

1 Madam, your husband is in a very safe and secret place/ 
— and that is true enough — l where his enemies will never 
find him/ — and for all we know that is also true. 'But 
I cannot understand why he did not come to me. That is 
not like my 'usband.' 'No, Madam, it is not. But man 
must do what he must, and the way was too long and ar- 
duous for his strength; he could not take the long, weary 
climb.' And no more could he, true enough. ' No, Madam, 
you cannot go to him, nor he come to you, for the danger 
of the way and the wild beasts that are abroad looking for 
food.' And what more true than that, for did not her 
daughter see one hunting for food ? 

"So she covers her face with her hand and rocks herself 
back and forth, and now, lad, here's where the blarney 
comes in. It's to tell her of the worth of her husband, and 
what a loss it would be to the world if he were to die on the 
trail, and what he would suffer if he thought she were un- 
happy, and then in the ardor of my speech comes the straight 
lie. I told her that he was writing the story of his life and 
that it was to be a great work which would bring about a 
tremendous revolution of justice and would bring confusion 
to his enemies, until at last she holds up her head 
proudly and speaks of his wonderful intellect and goodness. 
Then she says : 'He cannot come to me, very good. He is 
not strong enough — no. I go to him to-morrow.' Think 
of that, man ! What I had to meet, and it was all to go 
over again. I would call it very circumspect lying and in 
a good cause, too, to comfort the poor soul. I told her of 
the snow, and how surely she would die by the way and make 
her husband very sad, he who was now happy in the writing 
of his book, and that to do so would break his heart and 



3 o2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

cause his own death, — while to wait until spring in peace 
would be wiser, because she might then descend the moun- 
tain in perfect safety. So now she sits sewing and making 
things no man understands the use of. She showed me the 
blouse she has made for you. Now, that is the best 
medicine for her sick brain. They're great women, these 
two. If we must have women about, we're in luck to have 
women of their quality." 

"We are, indeed." 

"I saw the women who follow the road as it creeps across 
the plains. They're pitiful to see. If these had been like 
them, we'd have been obliged to take them in just the same, 
but Lord be merciful to them, I'm glad they're not on my 
mountain." Larry shook his ponderous, grizzled head and 
turned again to his packages. "Since they love to sew, 
they may be making things for themselves next. Look 
you ! Here is silk for gowns, for women love adornment, the 
best of them." 

Harry paused, his arms full of wood with which he was 
replenishing the fire, and stared in amazement, as Larry 
unrolled a mass of changeable satin wherein a deep cerise 
and green coloring shifted and shimmered in the firelight. 
He held the rich material up to his own waist and looked 
gravely down on the long folds that dropped to the floor 
and coiled about his feet. "I told you we're to live like 
lords and ladies now. Man ! I'd like to see Amalia in a 
gown of this !" 

Harry dropped his wood on the fire and threw back his 
head and laughed. He even lay down on the floor to laugh, 
and rolled about until his head lay among the folds of satin. 
Then he sat up, and taking the material between his fingers 



A DISCOURSE ON LYING 303 

felt of it, while the big man looked down on him, gravely 
discomfited. 

"And what did you bring for Madam Manovska ?" 

"Black, man, black. I'm no fool, I tell you. I know 
what's discreet for an elderly lady." Then they gravely 
and laboriously folded together the yards of gorgeous satin. 
"And I'd have been glad of your measure to get you the 
suit of clothes you're needing. Lacking it, I got one for 
myself. But for me they're a bit too small. You'll maybe 
turn tailor and cut them still smaller for yourself. Take 
them, and if they're no fit, you'll laugh out of the other 
corner of your mouth." The two men stood a moment 
sheepishly eying each other, while Harry held the clothes 
awkwardly in his hands. 

"I — I — did need them." He choked a bit, and then 
laughed again. 

"So did I need them — yours and mine, too." Larry 
held up another suit, "See here. Mine are darker, to keep 
you from thinking them yours. • And here are the buck- 
skins for hunting. I used to make them for myself, but 
they had these for sale, and I was by way of spending 
money, so I bought them. Now, with the blouses the 
women have made for you, we're decent." 

All at once it dawned on Harry what a journey the big 
man had made, and he fairly shouted, "Larry Kildene, 
where have you been?" 

"I rode like the very devil for three days. When once 
I was started, I was crazed to go — and see — Then I 
reached the end of the road from the coast this way. Did 
you know they're building the road from both ways at 
once ? I didn't, for I never went down to get news of the 



3 o4 THE EYE OF DREAD 

cities, and they might have put the whole thing through 
without my even knowing of it, if you hadn't tumbled in 
on me and told me of it. 

"It stirred me up a bit. I left my horse in charge of one 
I thought I might trust, and then took a train and rode over 
the new rails clean through to San Francisco, and there I 
groveled around a day or two, taking in the ways of men. 
They're doing big things. Now that the two oceans are 
to be united by iron rails, great changes will come like the 
wind, — the Lord knows when they will end ! Now, the 
women will be wanting us to eat, I'm thinking, and I'm 
not ready — but eat we must when the hour comes, and 
we've done nothing this whole morning but stand here and 
talk." 

Thus Larry grumbled as they tramped down to the cabin 
through the snow, with the rolls of silk under his arm, and 
the silver plates in his hand, while Harry carried the sack 
of coffee and the paper for Amalia. As they neared the 
cabin the big man paused. 

"Take these things in for me, Harry. I — I — left 
something back in the shed. Drop that coffee and I'll 
fetch it as I come along." 

"Now, what kind of a lie would you call that, sir, since 
it's your courage you've left ? " 

"Let be, let be. Can't you see I'm going back after it ?" 

So Harry carried in the gifts and Larry went back for his 
"courage" and donned his new suit of clothes to help him 
carry it, and then came walking in with a jovial swagger, 
and accepted the mother's thanks and Amalia's embrace 
with a marvelous ease, especially the embrace, with which 
he seemed mightily pleased. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

amalia's fete 

The winter was a cold one, and the snows fell heavily, 
but a way was always kept open between the cabin and the 
fodder shed, and also by great labor a space was kept 
cleared around the cabin and a part of the distance toward 
the fall so that the women might not be walled in their 
quarters by the snow. With plenty to occupy them all, 
the weeks sped swiftly and pleasantly. Larry did a little 
trapping and hunting, but toward midwinter the sport be- 
came dangerous, because of the depth of the snow, and with 
the exception of stalking a deer now and then, for fresh food, 
he and Harry spent the most of their time burrowing in the 
mountain for gold. 

AmabVs crutches were gradually laid aside, until she 
ran about as lightly as before, but even had she not been 
prevented by the snow she would not have been allowed to 
go far away from the cabin alone. The men baited and lay 
in wait for the panther, and at last shot him, but Larry 
knew from long experience that when the snows were deep, 
panthers often haunted his place, and their tracks were 
frequently seen higher up the mountain where he was wont 
to hunt the mountain sheep. 

Sometimes Harry King rode with Amalia where the wind 
had swept the way bare, toward the bend in the trail, and 
would bring her back glowing and happy from the exercise. 

3<>S 



306 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Sometimes when the storms were fierce without, and he 
suspected Larry longed for his old-time seclusion, he sat 
in the cabin. At these times Amalia redeemed her promise 
to teach him French. Few indeed were the books she had 
for help in giving these lessons. One little unbound book 
of old sonnets and songs and a small pamphlet of more 
modern poems that her father had loved, were all, except 
his Bible, which, although it was in Polish, contained 
copious annotations in her father's hand in French, and 
between the leaves of which lay loose pages filled with con- 
cise and plainly written meditations of his own. 

These Amalia loved and handled with reverence, and for 
Harry King they had such vital interest that he learned 
the more rapidly that he might know all they contained. 
He no longer wondered at her power and breadth of thought. 
As he progressed he found in them a complete system of 
ethics and religious faith. Their writer seemed to have 
drawn from all sources intrinsically vital truths, and sepa- 
rated them from their encumbering theologic verbiage and 
dogma, and had traced them simply through to the great 
"Sermon on the Mount." In a few pages this great man 
had comprised the deepest logic, and the sweetest and widest 
theology, enough for all the world to live by, and enough to 
guide nations in safety, if only all men might learn it. 

It was sufficient. He knew Amalia better, and more 
deeply he reverenced and loved her. He no longer quivered 
when he heard her mention the " Virgin " or when she spoke 
of the "Sweet Christ." It was not what his old dogmatic 
ancestry had fled from as "Popery." It was her simple, 
direct faith in the living Christ, which gave her eyes their 
dear, far-seeing vision, and her heart its quick, responsive 



AMALIA'S F£TE 307 

intuition and understanding. She might speak of the con- 
vent where she had been protected and loved, and taught 
many things useful and good, other than legends and doc- 
trines. She had learned how, through her father's under- 
standing and study, to gather out the good, and leave the 
rest, in all things. 

And Harry learned his French. He was an apt scholar, 
and Larry fell in line, for he had not forgotten the scholastic 
Latin and French of his college days. He liked, indeed, 
to air his French occasionally, although his accent was 
decidedly English, but his grammar was good and a great 
help to Harry. Madam Manovska also enjoyed his efforts 
and suggested that when they were all together they should 
converse in the French alone, not only that they might help 
Harry, but also that they might have a common language. 
It was to her and Amalia like their native tongue, and their 
fluency for a time quite baffled Larry, but he was deter- 
mined not to be beaten, and when Harry faltered and re- 
fused to go on, he pounded him on the back, and stirred him 
up to try again. 

Although Amalia's convent training had greatly restricted 
her knowledge of literature other than religious, her later 
years of intimate companionship with her father, and her 
mother's truly remarkable knowledge of the classics and 
fearless investigation of the modern thought of her day, had 
enlarged Amalia's horizon ; while her own vivid imagina- 
tion and her native geniality caused her to lighten always 
her mother's more somber thought with a delicate and 
gracious play of fancy that was at once fascinating and de- 
lightful. This, and Harry's determination to live to the ut- 
most in these weeks of respite, made him at times almost gay. 



3 o8 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Most of all he reveled in Amalia's music. Certain 
melodies that she said her father had made he loved espe- 
cially, and sometimes she would accompany them with a 
plaintive chant, half singing and half recitation, of the sonnet 
which had inspired them, and which had been woven 
through them. It was at these times that Larry listened 
with his elbows on his knees and his eyes fixed on the fire, 
and Harry with his eyes on Amalia's face, while the cabin 
became to him glorified with a light, no longer from the 
flames, but with a radiance like that which surrounded 
Dante's Beatrice in Paradise. 

Amalia loved to please Larry Kildene. For this reason, 
knowing the joy he would take in it, and also because she 
loved color and light and joy, and the giving of joy, she 
took the gorgeous silk he had brought her, and made it up 
in a fashion of her own. Down in the cities, she knew, 
women were wearing their gowns spread out over wide 
hoops, but she made the dress as she knew they were worn 
at the time Larry had lived among women and had seen 
them most. 

The bodice she fitted closely and shaped into a long 
point in front, and the skirt she gathered and allowed to 
fall in long folds to her feet. The sleeves she fitted only 
to her elbows, and gathered in them deep lace of her own 
making — lace to dream about, and the creation of which 
was one of those choice things she had learned of the good 
sisters at the convent. About her neck she put a bertha, 
kerchiefwise, and pinned it with a brooch of curiously 
wrought gold. Larry, "the discreet and circumspect 
liar," thought of the emerald brooch she had brought hiwi 
to sell for her, and knowing how it would glow and blend 



AMALIA'S FETE 309 

among the changing tints of the silk, he fetched it to her, 
explaining that he could not sell it, and that the bracelet 
had covered all she had asked him to purchase for her, and 
some to spare. 

She thanked him, and fastened it in her bodice, and 
handed the other to her mother. " There, mamma, when 
we have make you the dress Sir Kildene have brought you, 
you must wear this, for it is beautiful with the black. 
Then we will have a ffite. And for the ffite, Sir Kildene, you 
must wear the very fine new clothes you have buy, and Mr. 
'Any will carry on him the fine new clothing, and so will 
we be all attire most splendid. I will make for you all the 
music you like the best, and mamma will speak then the 
great poems she have learned by head, and Sir Kildene will 
tell the story he can relate so well of strange happenings. 
Oh, it will be a fine, good concert we will make here — and 
you, Mr. 'Any, what will you do ?" 

"I'll do the refreshments. I'll roast corn and make 
coffee. I'll be audience and call for more." 

" Ah, yes! Encore! Encore! The artists must always 
be very much praised — very much — so have I heard, to 
make them content. It is Sir Kildene who will be the great 
artist, and you must cry 'Encore/ and honor him greatly 
with such calls. Then will we have the pleasure to hear 
many stories from him. Ah, I like to hear them." 

It was a strange life for Harry King, this odd mixture of 
finest culture and high-bred delicacy of manner, with what 
appeared to be a total absence of self-seeking and a simple 
enjoyment of everyday work. He found Amalia one morn- 
ing on her knees scrubbing the cabin floor, and for the 
moment it shocked him. When they were out on the plains 



310 THE EYE OF DREAD 

camping and living as best they could, he felt it to be the 
natural consequence of their necessities when he saw her 
washing their clothes and making the best of their difficulties 
by doing hard things with her own hands, but now that they 
were living in a civilized way, he could not bear to see her, 
or her mother, doing the rough work. Amalia only laughed 
at him. "See how fine we make all things. If I will not 
serve for making clean the house, why am I ? Is not ?" 

"It doesn't make any difference what you do, you are 
always beautiful." 

"Ah, Mr. 'Any, you must say those compliments only 
in the French, It is no language, the English, for those fine 
eloquences." 

"No, I don't seem to be able to say anything I mean, in 
French. It's always a sort of make-believe talk with me. 
Our whole life here seems a sort of dream, — as if we were 
living in some wonderful bubble that will suddenly burst 
one day, and leave us floating alone in space, with nothing 
anywhere to rest on." 

"No, no, you are mistake. Here is this floor, very real, 
and dirt on it to be washed away, — from your boots, also 
very real, is not ? Go away, Mr. 'Arry, but come to-night 
in your fine clothing, for we have our ffite. Mamma has 
finish her beautiful new dress, and we will be gay. Is good 
to be sometimes joyful, is not? We have here no care, 
only to make happy together, and if we cannot do that, all 
is somber." 

And that evening indeed, Amalia had her "ffite." Larry 
told his best stories, and Harry was persuaded to tell them 
a little of his life as a soldier, and to sing a camp song. 
More than this he would not do, but he brought out some- 



AMALIA'S FETE 311 

thing he had been reserving with pride, a few little nuggets 
of gold. During the weeks he had worked he had found 
little, until the last few days, but happening to strike a 
vein of ore, richer than any Larry had ever found, the two 
men were greatly elated, and had determined to interest the 
women by melting some of it out of the quartz in which it 
was bedded, and turning out for each a golden bullet in 
Larry's mold. 

They heaped hard wood in the fireplace and the cabin was 
lighted most gloriously. While they waited for the red 
coals to melt the gold, Amalia took her violin and played 
and sang. It was nearly time for the rigor of the winter to 
abate, but still a high wind was blowing, and the fine snow 
was piling and drifting about the cabin, and even sifting 
through the chinks around the window and door, but the 
storm only made the brightness and warmth within more 
delightful. 

When Larry drew his crucible from the coals and poured 
the tiny glowing stream into his molds, Amalia cried out 
with joy. "How that is beautiful ! How wonderful to dig 
such beauty from the dark ground down in the black earth I 
Ah, mamma, look !" 

Then Larry pounded each one flat like a coin, and drilled 
through a small hole, making thus, for each, a souvenir of 
the shining metal. "This is from Harry's first mining," 
he said, "and it represents good, hard labor. He's picked 
out a lot of worthless dirt and stone to find this." 

Amalia held the little disk in her hand and smiled upon 
it. "I love so this little precious thing. Now, Mr. 'Arry, 
what shall I play for you ? It is yours to ask — for me, to 
play ; it is all I have." 



3 i2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"That sonnet you played me yesterday. The last line 
is, ' " Quelle est done cette femme ? " et ne comprenda pas.' '* 

" The music of that is not my father's best — but you ask 

' it, yes." Then she began, first playing after her own heart 

little dancing airs, gay and fantastic, and at last slid into a 

plaintive strain, and recited the accompaniment of rhyhtmic 

words. 

"Mon ame a son secret, ma vie a son mystere : 
Un amour eternel en un moment concu. 
Le mal est sans espoir, aussi j'ai du le taire 
Et celle qui l'a fait n'en a jamais rien su." 

One minor note came and went and came again, through 
the melody, until the last tones fell on that note and were 
held suspended in a tremulous plaint. 

"Elle dira, lisant ces vers tout remplis d'elle : 

'Quelle est done cette femme ?' et ne comprendra pas." 

Without pause she passed into a quick staccato and then 
descended to long-drawn tones, deep and full. "This is 
better, but I have never played it for you because that it is 
Polish, and to make it in English and so sing it is hard. 
You have heard of our great and good general Kosciuszko, 
yes ? My father loved well to speak of him and also of one 
very high officer under him, — I speak his name for you, 
Julian Niemcewicz. This high officer, I do not know how 
to say in English his rank, but that is no matter. He was 
writer, and poet, and soldier — all. At last he was exiled 
and sorrowful, like my father, — sorrowful most of all be- 
cause he might no more serve his country. It is to this 
poet's own words which he wrote for his grave that my 
father have put in music the cry of his sorrow. In Polish 



AMALIA'S FETE 313 

is it more beautiful, but I sing it for you in English for your 
comprehending. " 

"O, ye exiles, who so long wander over the world, 
Where will ye find a resting place for your weary steps ? 
The wild dove has its nest, and the worm a clod of earth, 
Each man a country, but the Pole a grave ! " 

It was indeed a cry of sorrow, the wail of a dying nation, 
and as Amalia played and sang she became oblivious of all 
else, a being inspired by lofty emotion, while the two men 
sat in silence, wondering and fascinated. The mother's 
eyes glowed upon her out of the obscurity of her corner, and 
her voice alone broke the silence. 

"I have heard my Paul in the night of the desert where he 
made that music, I have heard him so play and sing it, that 
it would seem the stars must fall down out of the heavens 
with sorrow for it." 

Amalia smiled and caught up her violin again. "We will 
have no more of this sad music this night. I will sing the 
wild song of the Ukraine, most beautiful of all our country, 
alas, ours no more — Like that other, the music is my 
father's, but the poem is written by a son of the Ukraine — 
Zaliski." 

A melody clear and sweet dominated, mounting to a note 
of triumph. Slender and tall she stood in the middle of the 
room. The firelight played on the folds of her gown, bring- 
ing out its color in brilliant flashes. She seemed to Harry, 
with her rich complexion and glowing eyes, absorbed thus 
in her music, a type of human splendor, vigorous, vivid, 
adorable. Mostly in Polish, but sometimes in English, she 
again half sang, half chanted, now playing with the voice, 
and again dropping to accompaniment only, while they 



3 i4 THE EYE OF DREAD 

listened, the mother in the shadows, Larry gazing in the fire, 
and Harry upon her. 

"Me also has my mother, the Ukraine, 
Me her son 

Cradled on her bosom, 
The enchantress." 

She ceased, and with a sigh dropped at her mother's 
feet and rested her head on her mother's knee. 

"Tell us now, mamma, a poem. It is time we finish now 
our ffite with one good, long poem from you." 

"You will understand me?" Madam Manovska turned 
to Harry. "You do well understand what once you have 
heard — " She always spoke slowly and with difficulty 
when she undertook English, and now she continued speak- 
ing rapidly to Amalia in her own tongue, and her daughter 
explained. 

"Mamma says she will tell you a poem composed by a 
great poet, French, who is now, for patriotism to his 
country, in exile. His name is Victor Hugo. You have 
surely heard of him ? Yes. She says she will repeat this 
which she have by head, and because that it is not familiar 
to you she asks will I tell it in English — if you so desire ? " 

Again Madam Manovska addressed her daughter, and 
Amalia said : "She thinks this high mountain and the plain 
below, and that we are exile from our own land, makes her 
think of this ; only that the conscience has never for her 
brought terror, like for Cain, but only to those who have 
so long persecuted my father with imprisonment, and drive 
him so far to terrible places. She thinks they must always, 
with never stopping, see the 'Eye' that regards forever. 
This also must Victor Hugo know well, since for his country 



AMALIA'S FfeTE 315 

he also is driven in exile — and can see the terrible ' Eye ' 
go to punish his enemies." 

Then Madam Manovska began repeating in her strong, 
deep tones the lines : — 

"Lorsque avec ses enfants vetus de peaux de betes, 
Echevele, livide au milieu des tempetes, 
Cain se fut enfui de devant Jehovah, 



" Comme le soir tombait, l'homme sombre arriva 
Au bas d'une montagne en une grande plaine ; 
Sa femme fatiguee et ses nls hors d'haleine ; 
Lui dire : ' Couchons-nous sur la terre et dormons.' " 

"Oh, mamma, that is so sad, that poem, — but continue 
— I will make it in English so well as I can, and for the 
mistakes — errors — of my telling you will forgive ? 

"This is the story of the terrible man, Cain, how he go 
with his children all in the skins of animals dressed. His 
hairs so wild, his face pale, — he runs in the midst of the 
storms to hide himself from God, — and, at last, in the 
night to the foot of a mountain on a great plain he arrive, 
and his wife and sons, with no breath and very tired, say to 
him, let us here on the earth lie down and sleep." Thus, as 
Madam Manovska recited, Amalia told the story in her own 
words, and Harry King listened rapt and tense to the very 
end, while the fire burned low and the shadows closed around 
them. 

"But Cain did not sleep, lying there by the mountain, 
for he saw always in the far shadows the fearful Eye of the 
condemning power fixed with great sorrow upon him. Then 
he cried, 'I am too near V and with trembling he awoke his 
children and his wife, and began to run furiously into space. 
So for thirty days and thirty nights he walked, always pale 



316 THE EYE OF DREAD 

and silent, trembling, and never to see behind hin. , without 
rest or sleeping, until they came to the shore of a far country, 
named Assur. 

"'Now rest we here, for we are come to the end of the 
world and are safe/ but, as he seated himself and looked, 
there in the same place on the far horizon he saw, in the 
sorrowful heavens, the Eye. Then Cain called on the dark- 
ness to hide him, and Jabal, his son, parent of those who 
live in tents, extended about him on that side the cloth of 
his tent, and Tsilla, the little daughter of his son, asked 
him, ' You see now nothing ? ' and Cain replied, ' I see the 
Eye, encore ! ' 

"Then Jubal, his son, father of those who live in towns 
and blow upon clarions and strike upon tambours, cried, 
'I will make one barrier, I will make one wall of bronze 
and put Cain behind it.' But even still, Cain said, "The 
Eye regards me always ! ' 

"Then Henoch said: 'I will make a place of towers so 
terrible that no one dare approach to him. Build we a city 
of citadels. Build we a city and there fasten — shut — 
close.' 

"Then Tubal Cain, father of men who make of iron, con- 
structed one city — enormous — superhuman; and while 
that he labored, his brothers in the plain drove far away 
the sons of Enos and the children of Seth, and put out the 
eyes of all who passed that way, and the night came when 
the walls of covering of tents were not, and in their place 
were walls of granite, every block immense, fastened with 
great nails of iron, and the city seemed a city of iron, and 
the shadow of its towers made night upon the plain, and 
about the city were walls more high than mountains, and 



AMALIA'S FfiTE 317 

when all was done, they graved upon the door, 'Defense a 
Dieu d'entrer,' and they put the old father Cain in a tower 
of stone in the midst of this city, and he sat there somber and 
haggard. 

"'Oh, my father, the Eye has now disappeared?' asked 
the child, Tsilla, and Cain replied : 'No, it is always there ! 
I will go and live under the earth, as in his sepulcher, a man 
alone. There nothing can see me more, and I no more can 
see anything.' 

"Then made they for him one — cavern. And Cain 
said, 'This is well,' and he descended alone under this 
somber vault and sat upon a seat in the shadows, and when 
they had shut down the door of the cave, the Eye was there 
in the tombs regarding him/' 

Thus, seated at her mother's feet, Amalia rendered the 

poem as her mother recited, while the firelight played over 

her face and flashed in the silken folds of her dress. When 

she had finished, the fire was low and the cabin almost in 

darkness. No one spoke. Larry still gazed in the dying 

embers, and Harry still sat with his eyes fixed on Amalia's 

face. 

"Victor Hugo, he is a very great man, as my 'usband have 

say," said the mother at last. 

"Ah, mamma. For Cain, — maybe, — yes, the Eye 

never closed, but now have man hope or why was the 

Christ and the Holy Virgin ? It is the forgiving of God they 

bring — for — for love of the poor human, — and who is 

sorrowful for his wrong — he is forgive with peace in his 

heart, is not?" 



CHAPTER XXV 

HARRY KING LEAVES THE MOUNTAIN 

When the two men bade Amalia and her mother good 
night and took their way to the fodder shed, the snow was 
whirling and drifting around the cabin, and the pathway 
was obliterated. 

"This , ll be the last storm of the year, I'm thinking," 
said Larry. But the younger man strode on without making 
a reply. He bent forward, leaning against the wind, and in 
silence trod a path for his friend through the drifted heaps. 
At the door of the shed he stood back to let Larry pass. 

"I'll not go in yet. I'll tramp about in the snow a bit 
until — Don't sit up for me — " He turned swiftly away 
into the night, but Larry caught him by the arm and 
brought him back. 

"Come in with me, lad; I'm lonely. We'll smoke to- 
gether, then we'll sleep well enough." 

Then Harry went in and built up the fire, throwing on 
logs until the shed was flooded with light and the bare 
rock wall seemed to leap forward in the brilliance, but he 
did not smoke; he paced restlessly about and at last crept 
into his bunk and lay with his face to the wall. Larry sat 
long before the fire. "It's the music that's got in my 
blood," he said. "Katherine could sing and lilt the Scotch 
airs like a bird. She had a touch for the instrument, too." 

But Harry could not respond to his friend's attempted 

318 



HARRY KING LEAVES THE MOUNTAIN 319 

confidence in the rare mention of his wife's name. He lay 
staring at the rough stone wall close to his face, and it 
seemed to him that his future was bounded by a barrier 
as implacable and terrible as that. All through the night 
he heard the deep tones of Madam Manovska's voice, and 
the visions of the poem passed through his mind. He saw 
the strange old man, the murderer, Cain, seated in the 
tomb, bowed and remorseful, and in the darkness still the 
Eye. But side by side with this somber vision he saw the 
interior of the cabin, and Amalia, glowing and warm and 
splendid in her rich gown, with the red firelight playing 
over her, leaning toward him, her wonderful eyes fixed on 
his with a regard at once inscrutable and sympathetic. 
It was as if she were looking into his heart, but did not wish 
him to know that she saw so deeply. 

Towards morning the snow clouds were swept from the 
sky, and a late moon shone out clear and cold upon a world 
carved crisply out of molten silver. Unable longer to bear 
that waking torture, Harry King rose and went out into the 
night, leaving his friend quietly sleeping. He stood a 
moment listening to Larry's long, calm breathing; then 
buttoning his coat warmly across his chest, he closed the 
shed door softly behind him and floundered off into the 
drifts, without heeding the direction he was taking, until he 
found himself on the brink of the chasm where the river r 
sliding smoothly over the rocks high above his head, was 
forever tumbling. 

There he stood, trembling, but not with cold, nor with 
cowardice, nor with fatigue. Sanity had come upon him. 
He would do no untoward act to hurt the three people who 
would grieve for him. He would bear the hurt of forever 



3 2o THE EYE OF DREAD 

loving in silence, and continue to wait for the open road 
that would lead him to prison and disgrace, or maybe a 
death of shame. He considered, as often before, all the 
arguments that continually fretted him and tore his spirit ; 
and, as before, he knew the only course to follow was the 
hard one which took him back to Amalia, until spring and 
the melting of the snows released him — to live near her, to 
see her and hear her voice, even touch her hand, and feel 
his body grow tense and hard, suffering restraint. If only 
for one moment he might let himself go ! If but once 
again he might touch her lips with his ! Ah, God ! If he 
might say one word of love — only once before leaving her 
forever ! 

Standing there looking out upon the world beneath him 
and above him bathed in the immaculate whiteness of the 
snow, and the moonlight over all, he perceived how small 
an atom in the universe is one lone man, yet how over- 
whelmingly great in his power to love. It seemed to him 
that his love overtopped the hills and swept to the very 
throne of God. He was exalted by it, and in this exalta- 
tion it was that he trembled. Would it lift him up to 
triumph over remorse and death ? 

He turned and plodded back the inevitable way. It 
was still night — cold and silver-white. He was filled with 
energy born of great renunciation and despair, and could 
only calm himself by work. If he could only work until 
he dropped, or fight with the elements, it would help him. 
He began clearing the snow from the ground around the 
cabin and cut the path through to the shed; then he quietly 
entered and found Larry still calmly sleeping as if but a 
moment had passed. Finally, he secured one of the torches 



HARRY KING LEAVES. THE MOUNTAIN 321 

and made his way through the tunnel to the place where 
Larry and he had found the quartz which they had smelted 
in the evening. 

There he fastened the torch securely in a crevice, and 
began to swing his pick and batter recklessly at the over- 
hanging ledge. Never had he worked so furiously, and the 
earth and stone lay all about him and heaped at his feet. 
Deeper and deeper he fought and cut into the solid wall, 
until, grimed with sweat and dirt, he sank exhausted upon 
the pile of quartz he had loosened. Then he shoveled it 
to one side and began again dealing erratic blows with his 
spent strength, until the ledge hung dangerously over him. 
As it was, he reeled and swayed and struck again, and 
staggered back to gather strength for another blow, leaning 
on his pick, and this saved him from death; for, during 
the instant's pause, the whole mass fell crashing in front of 
him, and he went down with it, stunned and bleeding, but 
not crushed. 

Larry Kildene breakfasted and worked about the cabin 
and the shed half the day before he began to wonder at the 
young man's absence. He fell to grumbling that Harry 
had not fed and groomed his horse, and did the work him- 
self. Noon came, and Amalia looked in his face anxiously 
as he entered and Harry not with him. 

"How is it that Mr. 'Arry have not arrive all this day ?" 

"Oh, he's mooning somewhere. Off on a tramp I sup- 
pose." 

"Has he then his gun? No?" 

"No, but he's been about. He cleared away all the 
snow, and I saw he had been over to the fall." Amalia 
turned pale as the shrewd old man's eyes rested on her. 



322 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"He came back early, though, for I saw footprints both 
ways." 

"I hope he comes soon, for we have the good soup to-day, 
of the kind Mr. 'Arry so well likes." 

But he did not come soon, and it was with much mis- 
giving that Larry set out to search for him. Finding no 
trails leading anywhere except the twice trodden one to 
the fall, he naturally tinned into the mine and followed 
along the path, torch in hand, hallooing jovially as he 
went, but his voice only returned to him, reverberating 
hollowly. Then, remembering the ledge where they had 
last worked, and how he had meant to put in props before 
cutting away any more, he ran forward, certain of calamity, 
and found his young friend lying where he had fallen, the 
blood still oozing from a cut above the temple, where it had 
clotted. 

For a moment Larry stood aghast, thinking him dead, but 
quickly seeing the fresh blood, he lifted the limp body and 
bound up the wound, and then Harry opened his eyes and 
smiled in Larry's face. The big man in his joy could do 
nothing but storm and scold. 

" Didn't I tell ye to do no more here until we'd the props 
in ? I'm thinking you're a fool, and that's what you are. 
If I didn't tell ye we needed them here, you could have seen 
it for yourself — and here you've cut away all underneath. 
What did you do it for ? I say ! " Tenderly he gathered 
Harry in his arms and lifted him from the d6bris and 
loosened rock. "Now! Are you hurt anywhere else? 
Don't try to stand. Bear on me. I say, bear on me." 

"Oh, put me down and let me walk. I'm not hurt. 
Just a cut. How long have you been here ?" 



HARRY KING LEAVES THE MOUNTAIN 323 

"Walk! I say! Yes, walk! Put your arm here, 
across my shoulder, so. You can walk as well as a week- 
old baby. You've lost blood enough to kill a man." So 
Larry carried him in spite of himself, and laid him in his 
bunk. There he stood, panting, and looking down on him. 
" You're heavier by a few pounds than when I toted you 
down that trail last fall." 

"This is all foolishness. I could have made it myself — 
on foot," said Harry, ungratefully, but he smiled up in the 
older man's face a compensating smile. 

"Oh, yes. You can lie there and grin now. And you'll 
continue to lie there until I let you up. It's no more 
lessons with Amalia and no more violin and poetry for you, 
for one while, young man." 

"Thank God. It will help me over the time until the 
trail is open." Larry stood staring foolishly on the drawn 
face and quivering, sensitive lips. 

"You're hungry, that's what you are," he said con- 
clusively. 

" Guess I am. I'm wretchedly sorry to make you all this 
trouble, but — she mustn't come in here — you'll bring me 
a bite to eat — yes, I'm hungry. That's what ails me." 
He drew- a grimy hand across his eyes and felt the bandage. 
"Why — you've done me up ! I must have had quite a 
cut" 

" I'll wash your face and get your coat off, and your boots, 
and make you fit to look at, and then — " 

" I don't want to see her — or her mother — either. I'm 
just — I'm a bit faint — I'll eat if — you'll fetch me a bite." 

Quickly Larry removed his outer clothing and mended 
the fire and then left him carefully wrapped in blankets 



324 THE EYE OF DREAD 

and settled in his bunk. When he returned, he found him 
light-headed and moaning and talking incoherently. Only 
a few words could he understand, and these remained in his 
memory. 

" When I'm dead — when Fm dead, I say." And then, 
" Not yet. I can't tell him yet. — I can't tell him the truth. 
It's too cruel." And again the refrain: "When I'm dead 
— when I'm dead." But when Larry bent over him and 
spoke, Harry looked sanely in his eyes and smiled again. 

"Ah, that's good," he said, sipping the soup. "I'll be 
myself again to-morrow, and save you all this trouble. 
You know I must have accomplished a good deal, to break 
off that ledge, and the gold fairly leaped out on me as I 
worked." 

"Did you see it?" 

"No, but I knew it — I felt it. Shake my clothes and 
see if they aren't full of it." 

"Was that what put you in such a frenzy and made a 
fool of you?" 

"Yes — no — no. It — it — wasn't that." 

"You know you were a fool, don't you ?" 

"If telling me of it makes me know it — yes." 

"Eat a little more. Here are beans and venison. You 
must eat to make up the loss. Why, man, I found you in 
a pool of blood." 

"Oh, I'll make it up. I'll make it up all too soon. I'm 
not to die so easily." 

"You'll not make it up as soon as you think, young man. 
You may lose a quart of blood in a minute, but it takes 
weeks to get it again," and Harry King found his friend was 
right. 



HARRY KING LEAVES THE MOUNTAIN 325 

That was the last snow of winter, as Larry had predicted, 
and when Harry crawled out in the sun, the earth smelled of 
spring, and the waterfall thundered in its downward plunge, 
augmented by the melting snows of the still higher moun- 
tains. The noise of it was ever in their ears, and the sound 
seemed fraught with a buoyant impulse and inspiration — 
the whirl and rush of a tremendous force, giving a sense of 
superhuman power. Even after he was really able to walk 
about and help himself, Harry would not allow himself to 
see Amalia. He forbade Larry to tell them how much 
he was improved, and still taxed his friend to bring him 
up his meals, and sit by him, telling him the tales of his 
life. 

"I'll wait on you here no longer, boy," said Larry, at 
last. " What in life are you hiding in this shed for ? The 
women think it strange of you — the mother does, anyway, 
— you may never quite know what her daughter thinks 
unless she wishes you to know, but I'm sure she thinks 
strange of you. She ought to." 

"I know. I'm perfectly well and strong. The trail's 
open now, and I'll go — I'll go back — where I came from. 
You've been good to me — I can't say any more — now." 

" Smoke a pipe, lad, smoke a pipe." 

Harry took a pipe and laughed. "You're better than 
any pipe, but I'll smoke it, and I'll go down, yes, I must, 
and bid them good-by." 

"And will you have nothing to tell me, lad, before you 

go?" 

"Not yet. After I've made my peace with the world — 
with the law — I'll have a letter sent you — telling all I 
know. You'll forgive me. You see, when I look back — • 



326 THE EYE OF DREAD 

I wish to see your face — as I see it now — not — not 
changed towards me." 

"My face is not one to change toward you — you who 
have repented whatever you've done that's wrong." 

That evening Harry King went down to the cabin and 
sat with his three friends and ate with them, and told 
them he was to depart on the morrow. They chatted and 
laughed and put restraint away from them, and all walked 
together to watch the sunset from a crag above the cabin. 
As they returned Madam Manovska walked at Harry's 
side, and as she bade him good night she said in her broken 
English : — 

"You think not to return — no ? But I say to you — 
in my soul I know it — yet will you return — we no more 
to be here — perhaps — but you — yes. You will return." 

They stood a moment before the cabin, and the firelight 
streamed through the open door and fell on Amalia's face. 
Harry took the mother's hand as he parted from them, but 
he looked in Amalia's eyes. 

In the morning he appeared with his kit strapped on his 
back equipped for walking. The women protested that 
he should not go thus, but he said he could not take Gold- 
bug and leave him below. "He is yours, Amalia. Don't 
beat him. He's a good horse — he saved my life — or 
tried to." 

"You know well it is my custom to beat animals. It is 
better you take him, or I beat him severely." 

"I know it. But you see, I can't take him. Ride him 
for me, and — don't let him forget me. Good-by !" 

He waved his hand and walked lightly away, and all 
stood in the doorway watching him. At the top of a slight 



HARRY KING LEAVES THE MOUNTAIN 327 

rise he turned again and waved his hand, and was lost to 
their sight. Then Larry went back to the shed and sat 
by the fire and smoked a lonely pipe, and the mother began 
busily to weave at her lace in the cabin, closing the door, for 
the morning air was chilly, and Amalia — for a moment 
she stood at the cabin door, her hand pressed to her heart, 
her head bowed as if in despair. Then she entered the cabin, 
caught up her silken shawl, and went out. 

Throwing the shawl over her head she ran along the trail 
Harry had taken, until she was out of breath, then she 
paused, and looked back, hesitating, quivering. Should 
she go on ? Should she return ? 

"I will go but a little — little way. Maybe he stops a 
moment, if only to — to — think a little," and she went 
on, hurrying, then moving more slowly. She thought she 
might at least catch one more fleeting glimpse of him as he 
turned the bend in the trail, but she did not. "Ah, he is 
so quickly gone !" she sighed, but still walked on. 

Yes, so quickly gone, but he had stopped as she thought, 
to think a little, beyond the bend, there where he had waited 
the long night in the snow for Larry Kildene, there where 
he had sat like Elijah of old, despairing, under the juniper 
tree. He felt weary and old and worn. He thought his 
youth had gone from him forever, but what matter? 
What was youth without hope? Youth, love, life, all 
were to be relinquished. He closed his eyes to the wonder 
of the hills and the beauty before him, yet he knew they 
were there with their marvelous appeal, and he sat with 
bowed head. 

" 'Any ! 'Arry King! " He raised his head, and there be- 
fore him were all that he had relinquished — youth, love, life* 



328 THE EYE OF DREAD 

He ran and caught her to him, as one who is drowning 
catches at life. 

" You have leave me so coldly, 'Arry King." He pressed 
her cheek to his. "You did not even speak to me a little." 
He kissed her lips. " You have break my heart." He held 
her closer to his own. "Why have you been so cold — 
like — like the ice — to leave me so hard — like — like — " 

"To save you from just this, Amalia. To save you from 
the touch of my hand — this is the crime I have fought 
against." 

"No. To love is not crime." 

"To dare to love — with the curse on my head that I feel 
as Cain felt it — is crime. In the Eye he saw it always — 
as I — I — see it. To touch you — it is like bringing the 
crime and curse on you, and through your beautiful love 
making you suffer for it. See, Amalia ? It was all I could 
do to go out of your life and say nothing." His voice trem- 
bled and his hand quivered as it rested on her hair. "I sat 
here to fight it. My heart — my heart that I have not yet 
learned to conquer — was pulling me back to you. I was 
faint and old. I could walk no farther until the fight was 
won. Oh, Amalia — Amalia ! Leave me alone, with the 
curse on my head ! It is not yours." 

"No, and it is not yours. You have repent. I do not 
believe that poem my mother is thinking so great. It is 
the terror of the ancient ones, but to-day, no more. Take 
this. It is for you I bring it. I have wear it always on my 
bosom, wear it now on yours." 

She quickly unclasped from her neck a threadlike chain 
of gold, and drew from her bosom a small ivory crucifix, 
to which it was attached. Reaching up, she clasped it 



HARRY KING LEAVES THE MOUNTAIN 329 

around his neck, and thrust the cross in his bosom. Then, 
thinking he meant to protest, she seized his hands and held 
them, and her words came with the impetuous rush of her 
thoughts. 

"No charm will help, Amalia. I killed my friend. ,, 
"Ah, no, \Arry King ! Take this of me. It is not as you 
think for one charm I give it. No. It is for the love of 
Christ — that you remember and think of it. For that I 
wear it. For that I give it to you. If you have repent, and 
have the Christ in your heart, so are you high — lifted above 
the sin, and if they take you — if they put the iron on your 
hands — Ah, I know, it is there you go to give yourself up, 

— if they keep you forever in the prison, still forever are 
you free. If they put you to the death to be satisfied of the 
law, then quickly are you alive in Paradise with Christ. 
Listen, it is for the love that you give yourself up — for 
the sorrowfulness in your heart that you have killed your 
friend? Is not? Yes. So is good. See. Look to the 
hills, the high mountains, all far around us? They are 
beautiful. They are yours. God gives you. And the 
sky — so clear — and the bright sun and the spring life 
and the singing of the birds ? All are yours — God gives. 
And the love in your heart — for me ? God gives, yes, and 
for the one you have hurt ? Yes. God gives it. And for 
the Christ who so loves you? Yes. So is the love the 
great life of God in you. It is yours. Listen. Go with 
the love in your heart — for me, — it will not hurt. It will 
be sweet to me. I carry no curse for you, as you say. It 
is gone. If I see you again in this world — as may be 

— is joy — great joy. If I see you no more here, yet in 
Paradise I will see you, and there also it will be joy, 



33° 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



for it is the love that is all of life, and all of eternity, and 
lives — lives !" 

Again he held her to his heart in a long embrace, and, when 
at last he walked down the trail into the desert, he still felt 
her tears on his cheek, her kisses on his lips, and her heart 
against his own. 



BOOK THREE 
CHAPTER XXVI 

THE LITTLE SCHOOL-TEACHER 

On a warm day in May, a day which opens the crab- 
apple blossoms and sets the bees humming, and the chil- 
dren longing for a chance to pull off shoes and stockings 
and go wading in the brook; on such a day the door of 
the little schoolhouse stood open and the sunlight lay in a 
long patch across the floor toward the "teacher's desk," 
and the breeze came in and tossed a stray curl about her 
forehead, and the children turned their heads often to look 
at the round clock on the wall, watching for the slowly 
moving hands to point to the hour of four. 

It was a mixed school. Children of all ages were there, 
from naughty little Johnnie Cole of five to Mary Burt and 
Hilton Le Moyne of seventeen and nineteen, who were in 
algebra and the sixth reader. It was well known by the 
rest of the children why Hilton Le Moyne lingered in the 
school this year all through May and June, instead of leav- 
ing in April, as usual, to help his uncle on the farm. It was 
" Teacher." He was in love with her, and always waited 
after school, hoping for a chance to walk home with her. 

Poor boy ! Black haired, red cheeked, and big hearted, 
he knew his love was hopeless, for he was younger than 

33* 



332 THE EYE OF DREAD 

she — not so much ; but there was Tom Howard who was 
also in love with her, and he had a span of sorrel horses 
which he had raised and broken himself, and they were 
his own, and he could come at any time — when she would 
let him — and take her out riding. 

Ah, that was something to aspire to! Such a team as 
that, and "Teacher" to sit by his side and drive out with 
him, all in her pretty flat hat with a pink rose on it and 
green ribbons flying, and her green parasol over her head 
— sitting so easily — just leaning forward a bit and turn- 
ing and laughing at what he was saying, and all the town 
seeing her with him, and his harness shining and new, 
making the team look as splendid as the best livery in town, 
and his buggy all painted so bright and new — well ! The 
time would come when he too would have such an outfit. 
It would. And Teacher would see that Tom Howard was 
not the only one who could drive up after her in such style. 

Little Teacher was tired to-day. The children had been 
restless and noisy, and her heart had been heavy with a 
great disappointment. She had been carefully saving her 
small salary that she might go when school closed and take 
a course at the "Art Institute" in "Technique." For a 
long time she had clung to the idea that she would become 
an illustrator, and a great man had told her father that 
"with a little instruction in technique " his daughter had 
"a fortune at the tips of her fingers." Only technique! 
Yes, if she could get it ! 

Father could help her, of course, only father was a 
painter in oils and not an illustrator — and then — he 
was so driven, always, and father and mother both thought 
it would be best for her to take the course of study recom- 



THE LITTLE SCHOOL-TEACHER 333 

mended by the great man. So it was decided, for there 
was Martha married and settled in her home not far away 
from the Institute, and Teacher could live with her and 
study. Ah, the long-coveted chance almost within her 
reach ! Then — one difficulty after another intervened, 
beginning with a great fire in the fall which swept away 
Martha's home and all they had accumulated, together 
with her husband's school, rendering it necessary for the 
young couple to go back to Leauvite for the winter. 

"Never mind, Betty, dear," Martha had encouraged her. 
"We'll return in the spring and start again, and you can 
take the course just the same. ,, 

But now a general financial stringency prevailed all over 
the country. "It always seems, when there's a 'financial 
stringency,' that portraits and paintings are the things 
people economize on first of all," said Betty. 

"Naturally," said Mary Ballard. "When people need 
food and clothing — they want them, and not pictures. 
We'll just have to wait, dear." 

"Yes, we'll have to wait, Mary." Saucy Betty had a 
way of calling her mother " Mary." "Your dress is shabby, 
and you need a new bonnet; I noticed it in church, 
— you'd never speak of that, though. You'd wear your 
winter's bonnet all summer." 

Yes, Betty must see to it, even if it took every bit of the 
fund, that mother and Janey were suitably dressed. 
"Never mind, Mary, I'll catch up some day. You needn't 
look sorry. I'm all right about my own clothes, for Martha 
gave me a rose for my hat, and the new ribbons make it so 
pretty, — and my green parasol is as good as new for all 
I've had it three years, and — " 



334 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Betty stopped abruptly. Three years ! — was it so 
long since that parasol was new — and she was so happy 
— and Richard came home — ? The family were seated 
on the piazza as they were wont to be in the evening, and 
Betty walked quietly into the house, and up to her room. 
. Bertrand Ballard sighed, and his wife reached out and 
took his hand in hers. "She's never been the same since," 
he said. 

"Her character has deepened and she's fine and sweet — " 

"Yes, yes. I have three hundred dollars owing me for 
the Delong portrait. If I had it, she should have her 
course. I'll make another effort to collect it." 

"I would, Bertrand." 

Julien Thurbyfil and his wife walked down the flower- 
bordered path side by side to the gate and stood leaning 
over it in silence. Practical Martha was the first to 
break it. 

"There will be just as much need for preparatory schools 
now as there was before the fire, Julien." 

"Yes, dear, yes." 

"And, meanwhile, we are glad of this sweet haven to come 
to, aren't we ? And it won't be long before things are so 
you can begin again." 

"Yes, dear, and then we'll make it up to Betty, won't 
we?" 

But Julien was distraught and somber, in spite of brave 
words. He had not inherited Mary Ballard's way of look- 
ing at things, nor his father-in-law's buoyancy. 

All that night Betty lay wakeful and thinking — think- 
ing as she had many, many a time during the last three 
years, trying to make plans whereby she might adjust her 



THE LITTLE SCHOOL-TEACHER 335 

thoughts to a life of loneliness, as she had decided in her 
romantic heart was all she would take. How could there 
be anything else for her since that terrible night when 
Richard had come to her and confessed his guilt — his love 
and his renunciation ! Was she not sharing it all with 
him, wherever he might be, and whatever he was doing? 
Oh, where was he ? Did he ever think of her and know she 
was always thinking of him ? Did he know she prayed for 
him, and was the thought a comfort to him ? Surely Peter 
was the happier of the two, for he was not a sorrowing 
criminal, wandering the earth, hiding and repenting. So 
all her thoughts went out to Richard, and no wonder she 
was a weary little wight at the end of the school day. 

Four o'clock, and the children went hurrying away, all 
but Hilton Le Moyne, who lingered awhile at his desk, and 
then reluctantly departed, seeing Teacher did not look up 
from her papers except to give him a nod and a fugitive 
little smile of absent-minded courtesy. Left thus alone, 
Betty lifted the lid of her desk and put away the school 
register and the carefully marked papers to be given out 
the next day, and took from a small portfolio a packet of 
closely written sheets. These she untied and looked over, 
tossing them rapidly aside one after another until she found 
the one for which she searched. 

It was a short poem, hastily written with lead pencil, and 
much crumpled and worn, as if it had been carried about. 
Now she straightened the torn edges and smoothed it out 
and began scanning the lines, counting off on her fingers 
the rhythmic beats; she copied the verses carefully on a 
fresh white sheet of paper and laid them aside ; then, shov- 
ing the whole heap of written papers from her, she selected 



336 THE EYE OF DREAD 

» 

another fresh sheet and began anew, writing and scanning 
and writing again. 

Steadily she worked while an hour slipped by. A great 
bumblebee flew in at one window and boomed past her 
head and out at the other window, and a bluebird perched 
for an instant on the window ledge and was off again. She 
saw the bee and the bird and paused awhile, gazing with 
dreamy eyes through the high, uncurtained window at 
drifting clouds already taking on the tint of the declining 
sun ; then she stretched her arms across her wide desk, and 
putting her head down on them, was soon fast asleep. 
Tired little Teacher ! 

The breeze freshened and tumbled her hair and fanned 
her flushed cheek, and it did more than that ; for, as the 
drifting clouds betokened, the weather was changing, and 
now a gust of wind caught at her papers and took some of 
them out of the window, tossing and whirling them hither 
and thither. Some were carried along the wayside and 
lost utterly. One fluttered high over the tree tops and out 
across the meadow, and then suddenly ceased its flight and 
drifted slowly down like a dried leaf, past the face of a young 
man who sat on a stone, moodily gazing in the meadow 
brook. He reached out a long arm and caught it as it 
fluttered by, just in time to save it from annihilation in the 
water. 

For a moment he held the scrap of paper absently be- 
tween his fingers, then glancing down at it he spied faintly 
written, half-obliterated verses and read them ; then, with 
awakened interest, he read them again, smoothing the torn 
bit of paper out on his knee. The place where he sat was 
well screened from the road by a huge basswood tree, which 



THE LITTLE SCHOOL-TEACHER 337 

spread great Jimbs quite across the stream, and swept both 
its banks with drooping branches and broad leaves. Now 
he held the scrap on his open palm and studied it closely 
and thoughtfully. It was the worn piece from which Betty 
had copied the verses. 

"Oh, send me a thought on the winds that blow. 
On the wing of a bird send a thought to me ; 
For the way is so long that I may not know, 
And there are no paths on the troubled sea. 

" Out of the darkness I saw you go, — 
Into the shadows where sorrows be, — 
Wounded and bleeding, and sad and slow, — 
Into the darkness away from me. 

" Out of my life and into the night, 
But never out of my heart, my own. 
Into the darkness out of the light, 

Bleeding and wounded, and walking alone." 

Here the words were quite erased and scratched over, and 
the pathetic bit of paper looked as if it had been tear- 
stained. Carefully and smoothly he laid it in his long bill 
book. The book was large and plethoric with bank notes, 
and there beside them lay the little scrap of paper, worn 
and soiled, yet tear washed, and as the young man touched 
it tenderly he smiled and thought that in it was a wealth 
of something no bank note could buy. With a touch 
of sentiment unsuspected by himself, he felt it too sacred 
a thing to be touched by them, and he smoothed it again 
and laid it in a compartment by itself. 

Then he rose, and sauntered across the meadow to the 
country road, and down it past the schoolhouse standing 
on its own small rise of ground with the door still wide open, 
and its shadow, cast by the rays of the now setting sun 



338 THE EYE OF DREAD 

stretched long across the playground. The young man 
passed it, paused, turned back, and entered. There at 
her desk Betty still slept, and as he stepped softly forward 
and looked down on her she stirred slightly and drew a long 
breath, but slept on. 

For a moment his heart ceased to beat, then it throbbed 
suffocatingly and his hand went to his breast and clutched 
the bill book where lay the tender little poem. There at 
her elbow lay the copy she had so carefully made. The 
air of the room was warm and drowsy, and the stillness 
was only broken by the low buzzing of two great bluebottle 
flies that struggled futilely against the high window panes. 
Dear little tired Betty! Dreaming, — of whom? The 
breath came through her parted lips, softly and evenly, and 
the last ray of the sun fell on her flushed cheek and 
brought out the touch of gold in her hair. 

The young man turned away and crossed the bare floor 
with light steps and drew the door softly shut after him as 
he went out. No one might look upon her as she slept, 
with less reverent eyes. Some distance away, where the 
road began to ascend toward the river bluff, he seated him- 
self on a stone overlooking the little schoolhouse and the 
road beyond. There he took up his lonely watch, until he 
saw Betty come out and walk hurriedly toward the village, 
carrying a book and swinging her hat by the long ribbon 
ties ; then he went on climbing the winding path to the top 
of the bluff overlooking the river. 

Moodily he paced up and down along the edge of the 
bluff, and finally followed a zigzag path to the great rocks 
below, that at this point seemed to have hurled themselves 
down there to do battle with the eager, dominating flood. 



THE LITTLE SCHOOL-TEACHER 339 

For a while he stood gazing into the rushing water, not as 
though he were fascinated by it, but rather as if he were 
held to the spot by some inward vision. Presently he 
seemed to wake with a start and looked back along the 
narrow, steep path, and up to the overhanging edge of the 
bluff, scanning it closely. 

"Yes, yes. There is the notch where it lay, and this 
may be the very stone on which I am standing. What an 
easy thing to fall over there and meet death halfway!" 
He muttered the words under his breath and began slowly 
to climb the difficult ascent. 

The sun was gone, and down by the water a cold, damp 
current of air seemed to sweep around the curve of the bluff 
along with the rush of the river. As he climbed he came 
to a warmer wave of air, and the dusk closed softly around 
him, as if nature were casting a friendly curtain over the 
drowsing earth ; and the roar of the river came up to him, 
no longer angrily, but in a ceaseless, subdued complaint. 

Again he paced the top of the bluff, and at last seated 
himself with his feet hanging over the edge, at the spot from 
which the stone had fallen. The trees on this wind-swept 
place were mostly gnarled oaks, old and strong and rugged, 
standing like a band of weather-beaten life guardsmen 
overlooking the miles of country around. Not twenty 
paces from where the young man sat, half reclining on his 
elbow, stood one of these oaks, and close to its great trunk 
on its shadowed side a man bent forward intently watch- 
ing him. Whenever the young man shifted his position 
restlessly, the figure made a darting movement forward as 
if to snatch him from the dangerous brink, then recoiled 
and continued to watch. 



340 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Soon the young man seemed to be aware of the presence 
and watchful eye, and looked behind him, peering into the 
dusk. Then the man left his place and came toward him, 
with slow, sauntering step. 

- "Hullo !" he said, with an insinuating, rising inflection 
and in the soft voice of the Scandinavian. 

"Hallo !" replied the young man. 

"Seek?" 

"Sick? No." The young man laughed slightly. 
"What are you doing here ?" 

"Oh, I yust make it leetle valk up here." 

"Same with me, and now I'll make it a little walk back 
to town." The young man rose and stretched himself 
and turned his steps slowly back along the winding path. 

" Veil, I tank I make it leetle valk down town, too," and 
the figure came sauntering along at the young man's side. 

"Oh, you're going my way, are you ? All right." 

" Yas, I tank I going yust de sam your way." 

The young man set the pace more rapidly, and for a 
time they walked on in silence. At last, "Live here?" he 
asked. 

Yas, I lif here." 
Been here long?" 

" In America ? Yes. I guess five — sax — year. Oh, I 
lak it goot." 

"I mean here, in this place." 

"Oh, here ? Yas, two, t'ree year. I lak it goot too." 

" Know any one here ? " 

"Oh, yas. I know people I vork by yet." 

"Who are they?" 

"Oh, I vork by many place — make garten — und vork 






THE LITTLE SCHOOL-TEACHER 341 

wit* horses, und so. Meesus Craikmile, I vork by her on 
garten. She iss dere no more." 

The young man paused suddenly in his stride. " Gone ? 
Where is she gone ? " 

" Oh, she iss by oP country gone. Her man iss gone mit " 
They walked on. 

" What ! Is the Elder gone, too ? " 

" Yas. You know heem, yas ?" 

"Oh, yes. I know everybody here. I've been away for 
a good while." 

" So ? Yas, yust lak me. I was gone too goot wile, bot 
I coom back too, yust lak you." 

Here they came to a turn in the road, and the village 
lights began to wink out through the darkness, and their 
ways parted. 

"I'm going this way," said the young man. "You turn 
off here ? Well, good night." 

"Veil, goot night." The Swede sauntered away down 
a by-path, and the young man kept on the main road to the 
village and entered its one hotel where he had engaged a 
room a few hours before. 



CHAPTER XXVH 

THE SWEDE'S TELEGRAM 

As soon as the shadows hid the young man's retreating 
form from the Swede's watchful eye, that individual quick- 
ened his space and presently broke into a run. Circling 
round a few blocks and regaining the main street a little 
below the hotel, he entered the telegraph office. There 
his haste seemed to leave him. He stood watching the 
clerk a few minutes, but the latter paid no attention to him. 

"Hullo!" he said at last. 

"Hallo, yourself !" said the boy, without looking up or 
taking his hand from the steadily clicking instrument. 

"Say, I lak it you send me somet'ing by telegraph." 

"All right. Hold on a minute," and the instrument 
clicked on. 

After a little the Swede grew impatient. He scratched 
his pale gold head and shuffled his feet. 

"Say, I lak it you send me a little somet'ing yet." He 
reached out and touched the boy on the shoulder. 

"Keep out of here. I'll send your message when I'm 
through with this," and the instrument clicked on. Then 
the Swede resigned himself, watching sullenly. 

"Everybody has to take his turn," said the boy at last. 
"You can't cut in like that." The boy was newly promoted 
and felt his importance. He took the soiled scrap of paper 

342 



THE SWEDE'S TELEGRAM 343 

held out to him. It was written over in a clear, bold hand. 
" This isn't signed. Who sends this ? " 

"You make it yust lak it iss. I send dot." 

"Well, sign it." He pushed a pen toward him, and the 
Swede took it in clumsy fingers and wrote laboriously, 
"Nels Nelson." 

"You didn't write this message ?" 

"No. I vork by de hotel, und I get a man write it." . 

"It isn't dated. Been carrying it around in your pocket 
a good while I guess. Better date it." 

"Date it?" 

"Yes. Put down the time you send, you know." 

" Oh, dat's not'ing. He know putty goot when he get it." 

"Very well. 'To Mr. John Thomas, — State Street, 
Chicago. Job's ready. Come along.' Who's job is it? 
Yours?" 

"No. It's hees yob yet. You mak it go to-night, all 
right. Goot night. I pay it now, yas. Veil, goot night." 

He paid the boy and slipped out into the shadows of the 
street, and again making the detour so that he came to the 
hotel from the rear, he passed the stables, and before climb- 
ing to his cupboard of a room at the top of the building, he 
stepped round to the side and looked in at the dining room 
windows, and there he saw the young man seated at supper. 

"All right," he said softly. 

The omnibus sent regularly by the hotel management 
brought only one passenger from the early train next day. 
Times had been dull of late and travel had greatly fallen off, 
as the proprietor complained. There was nothing unusual 
about this passenger, — the ordinary traveling man, rep- 
resenting a well-known New York dry-goods house. 



344 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Nels Nelson drove the omnibus. He had done so ever 
since Elder Craigmile went to Scotland with his wife. The 
young man he had found on the river bluff was pacing the 
hotel veranda as he drove up, and Nels Nelson glanced at 
him, and into the eyes of the traveling man, as he handed 
down the latter's heavy valise. 

Standing at the desk, the newcomer chatted with the 
clerk as he wrote his name under that of the last arrival the 
day before. 

"Harry King, ,, he read. "Came yesterday. Many 
stopping here now ? Times hard ! I guess so ! Nothing 
doing in my line. Nobody wants a thing. Guess I'll 
leave the road and 'go west, young man,' as old Greeley 
advises. What line is King in ? Do* know ? Is that him 
going into the dining room ? Guess I'll follow and fill up. 
Anything good to eat here ?" 

In the dining room he indicated to the waiter by a nod 
of his head the seat opposite Harry King, and immediately 
entered into a free and easy conversation, giving him a his- 
tory of his disappointments in the way of trade, and reiterat- 
ing his determination to " go west, young man." 

He hardly glanced at Harry, but ate rapidly, stowing 
away all within reach, until the meal was half through, 
then he looked up and asked abruptly, "What line are you 
in, may I ask?" 

" Certainly you may ask, but I can't tell you. I would be 
glad to do so if I knew myself." 

"Ever think of going west ?" 

"I've just come from there — or almost there — where- 
ever it is." I 

"Stiles is my name — G. B. Stiles. Good name for a 



a 
a 
a 



THE SWEDE'S TELEGRAM 345 

dry-goods salesman, don't you think so ? I know the styles 
all right, for men, and women too. Like it out west ?" 

"Yes. Very well." 

"Been there long?" 

"Oh, two or three years." 

"Had enough of it, likely?" 
Well, I can scarcely say that." 
Mean to stay east now ?" 
I may. I'm not settled yet." 

"Better take up my line. If I drop out, there'll be an 
opening with my firm — good firm, too. Ward, Williams 
& Co., New York. Been in New York, I suppose ?" 

"No, never." 

"Well, better try it. I mean to 'go west, young man.' 
Know anybody here ? Ever live here ? " 

"Yes, when I was a boy." 

"Come back to the boyhood home. We all do that, 
you know. There's poetry in it — all do it. ' Old oaken 
bucket' and all that sort of thing. I mean to do it myself 
yet, — back to old York state." G. B. Stiles wiped his 
mouth vigorously and shoved back his chair. "Well, see 
you again, I hope," he said, and walked off, picking his 
teeth with a quill pick which he took from his vest pocket. 

He walked slowly and meditatively through the office 
and out on the sidewalk. Here he paused and glanced 
about, and seeing his companion of the breakfast table was 
not in sight, he took his way around to the stables. Nels 
Nelson was stooping in the stable yard, washing a horse's 
legs. G. B. Stiles came and stood near, looking down on 
him, and Nels straightened up and stood waiting, with the 
dripping rags in his hand. 



346 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Veil, I tol' you he coomin' back sometime. I vaiting 
long time all ready, but yust lak I toP you, he coom." 

"I thought I told you not to sign that telegram. But 
it's no matter, — didn't do any harm, I guess." 

"Dot vas a fool, dot boy dere. He ask all tarn, ' Vot for ? 
Who write dis? You not? Eh? Who sen' dis?' He 
make me put my name dere ; den I get out putty quvick or 
he ask yet vat iss it for a yob you got somebody, eh ?" 

"Oh, well, we've got him now, and he don't seem to care 
to keep under cover, either." G. B. Stiles seemed to address 
himself. "Too smart to show a sign. See here, Nelson, 
are you ready to swear that he's the man ? Are you ready 
to swear to all you told me ?" 

"It is better you gif me a paper once, vit your name, dot 
you gif me half dot money." 

Nels Nelson stooped deliberately and went on washing 
the horse's legs. A look of irritation swept over the placid 
face of G. B. Stiles, and he slipped the toothpick back in 
his vest pocket and walked away. 

"I say," called the Swede after him. "You gif me dot 
paper. Eh ? " 

"I can't stand talking to you here. You'll promise to 
swear to all you told me when I was here the first time. If 
you do that, you are sure of the money, and if you change 
it in the least, or show the least sign of backing down, we 
neither of us get it. Understand ? " 

Again the Swede arose, and stood looking at him sullenly. 
It iss ten t'ousand tallers, und I get it half, eh ? " 
Oh, you go to thunder !" The proprietor of the hotel 
came around the corner of the stable, and G. B. Stiles ad- 
dressed himself to him. "I'd like the use of a horse to-day, 






THE SWEDE'S TELEGRAM 347 

and your man here, if I can get him. IVe got to make a 
trip to Rigg's Corners to sell some dry goods. Got a good 
buggy?" 

"Yes, and a horse you can drive yourself, if you like. 
Begone all day?" 

"No, don't want to fool with a horse — may want to 
stay and send the horse back — if I find a place where the 
grub is better than it is here. See ? " 

"You'll be back after one meal at any place within a 
hundred miles of here." The proprietor laughed. 

"Might as well drive yourself. You won't want to send 
the horse back. I'm short of drivers just now. Times are 
bad and travel light, so I let one go." 

"I'll take the Swede there." 

"He's my station hand. Maybe Jake can drive you. 
Nels, where's Jake?" 

"He's dere in the stable. Shake !" he shouted, without 
glancing up, and Jake slouched out into the yard. 

"Jake, here's a gentleman wants you to drive him out 
into the country, — " 

" I'll take the Swede. Jake can drive your station wagon 
for once." 

G. B. Stiles laughed good-humoredly and returned to the 
piazza and sat tilted back with his feet on the rail not far 
from Harry King, who was intently reading the New York 
Tribune. For a while he eyed the young man covertly, 
then dropped his feet to the floor and turned upon him 
with a question on the political situation, and deliberately 
engaged him in conversation, which Harry King entered into 
courteously yet reluctantly. Evidently he was preoccupied 
with affairs of his own. 



348 THE EYE OF DREAD 

In the stable yard a discussion was going on. "Dot 
horse no goot in buggy. Better you sell heem any 
vay. He yoomp by de cars all tarn, und he no goot by 
buggy." 

"Well, you've got to take him by the buggy, if he is no 
good. I won't let Jake drive him around the trains, and 
he won't let Jake go with him out to Rigg's Comers, so 
you'll have to take the gray and the buggy and go." The 
Swede began a sullen protest, but the proprietor shouted 
back to him, "You'll do this or leave," and walked in. 

Nels went then into the stable, smiling quietly. He was 
well satisfied with the arrangement. "Shake, you put dot 
big horse by de buggy. No. Tak' d'oder bridle. I don't 
drive heem mit ol' bridle ; he yoomp too quvick yet. All 
tarn yoomping, dot horse." 

Presently Nels drove round to the front of the hotel with 
the gray horse and a high-top buggy. Harry King regarded 
him closely as he passed, but Nels looked straight ahead. 
A boy came out carrying Stiles' heavy valise. 

"Put that in behind here," said Stiles, as he climbed in 
and seated himself at Nels Nelson's side. The gray leaped 
forward on the instant with so sudden a jump that he 
caught at his hat and missed it. Harry King stepped 
down and picked it up. 

"What ails your horse?" he asked, as he restored it to 
its owner. 

"Oh, not'in'. He lak yoomp a little." And again the 
horse leaped forward, taking them off at a frantic pace, 
the high-topped buggy atilt as they turned the corner of 
the street into the country road. Harry King returned to 
his seat. Surely it was the Scandinavian who had walked 



THE SWEDE'S TELEGRAM 349 

down from the bluff with him the evening before. There 
was no mistaking that soft, drawling voice. 

"See here ! You pull your beast down, I want to talk 
with you. Hi ! There goes my hat again. Can't you 
control him better than that ? Let me out." Nels pulled 
the animal down with a powerful arm, and he stood quietly 
enough while G. B. Stiles climbed down and walked back 
for his hat. "Look here ! Can you manage the beast, or 
can't you?" he asked as he stood beside the vehicle and 
wiped the dust from his soft black felt with his sleeve. 
"If you can't, I'll walk." 

"Oh, yas, I feex heem. I leek heem goot ven ve coom 
to place nobody see me." 

"I guess that's what ails him now. You've done that 
before." 

"Yas, bot if you no lak I leek heem, ust you yoomp in 
und I lat heem run goot for two, t'ree mile. Dot feex heem 
all right." 

"I don't know about that. Sure you can hold him ?" 

"Yas, I hoi' heem so goot he break hee's yaw off, if 
he don't stop ven I tol' heem. Now, quvick. Whoa ! 
Yoomp in." 

G. B. Stiles scrambled in with unusual agility for him, 
and again they were off, the gray taking them along with 
leaps and bounds, but the road was smooth, and the dust 
laid by frequent showers was like velvet under the horse's 
feet. Stiles drew himself up, clinging to the side of the 
buggy and to his hat. 

"How long will he keep this up ?" he asked. 

" Oh, he stop putty quvick. He lak it leetle run. T'ree, 
four mile he run — das all." And the Swede was right. 



350 THE EYE OF DREAD 

After a while the horse settled down to a long, swinging trot. 
"Look at heem now. I make heem go all tarn lak dis. 
Ven I get my money I haf stable of my own und den I buy 
heem. I know heem. I all tarn toF Meester Decker dot 
horse no goot — I buy heem sheep. You go'n gif me dot 
money, eh?" 

"I see. You're sharp, but you're asking too much. If 
it were not for me, you wouldn't get a cent, or me either. 
See ? I've spent a thousand hunting that man up, and you 
haven't spent a cent. All you've done is to stick here at 
the hotel and watch. I've been all over the country. Even 
went to Europe and down in Mexico — everywhere. 
You haven't really earned a cent of it." 

"Vat for you goin' all offer de vorld? Vat you got by 
dot ? Spen' money — dot vot you got. Me, I stay here. 
I fin' heem ; you not got heem all offer de vorld. I tol* 
you, of a man he keel somebody, he run vay, bot he goin* 
coom back where he done it. He not know it vot for he do 
it, bot he do it all right." 

"Look here, Nelson; it's outrageous! You can't lay 
claim to that money. I told you if he was found and you 
were willing to give in your evidence just as you gave it to 
me that day, I'd give you your fair share of the reward, as 
you asked for it, but I never gave you any reason to think 
you were to take half. I've spent all the money working 
up this matter, and if I were to go back now and do nothing, 
as I'm half a mind to do, you'd never get a cent of it. 
There's no proof that he's the man." 

"You no need spen' dot money." 

" Can't I get reason into your head ? When I set out to 
get hold of a criminal, do you think I sit down in one place 



THE SWEDE'S TELEGRAM 351 

and wait? You didn't find him; he came here, and it's 
only by an accident you have him, and he may clear out yet, 
and neither of us be the better off because of your pig- 
headedness. Here, drive into that grove and tie your 
horse a minute and we'll come to an understanding. I 
can't write you out a paper while we're moving along like 
this." 

Then Nels turned into the grove and took the horse 
from the shafts and tied him some distance away, while 
G. B. Stiles took writing materials from his valise, and, sit- 
ting in the buggy, made a show of drawing up a legal paper. 

"I'm going to draw you up a paper as you asked me to. 
Now how do you know you have the man ? " 

"It iss ten t'ousand tallers. You make me out dot 
paper you gif me half yet." 

"Damn it! You answer my question. I can't make 
this out unless I know you're going to come up to the 
scratch." He made a show of writing, and talked at the 
same time. "I, G. B. Stiles, detective, in the employ of 
Peter Craigmile, of the town of Leauvite, for the capture of 
the murderer of his son, Peter Craigmile, Jr., do hereby 
promise one Nels Nelson, Swede, — in the employ of Mr 
Decker, hotel proprietor, as stable man, — for services 
rendered in the identification of said criminal at such time 
as he should be found, — Now, what service have you 
rendered? How much money have you spent in the 
search?" 

"Not'ing. Igotheem." 

" Nothing. That's just it." 

"Igotheem." 

"No, you haven't got him, and you can't get him with- 



352 THE EYE OF DREAD 

out me. Don't you think it. I am the one to get him. 
You have no warrant and no license. I'm the one to put 
in the claim and get the reward for you, and you'll have to 
take what I choose to give, and no more. By rights you 
would only have your fee as witness, and that's all. That's 
all the state gives. Whatever else you get is by my kind- 
ness in sharing with you. Hear ?" 

A dangerous light gleamed in the Swede's eyes, and 
Stiles, by a slight disarrangement of his coat in the search 
for his handkerchief, displayed a revolver in his hip pocket. 
Nels' eyes shifted, and he looked away. 

"You'd better quit this damned nonsense and say what 
you'll take and what you'll swear to." 

"I'll take half dot money," s^id Nels, softly and stub- 
bornly. 

"I'll take out all I've spent on this case before we divide 
it in any way, shape, or manner." Stiles figured a moment 
on the margin of his paper. "Now, what are you going to 
swear to ? You needn't shift round. You'll tell me here 
just what you're prepared to give in as evidence before I 
put down a single figure to your name on this paper. See ? " 

"I done toP you all dot in Chicago dot time." 

"Very well. You'll give that in as evidence, every word 
of it, and swear to it ?" 

"Yas." 

"I don't more than half believe this is the man. You 
know it's life imprisonment for him if it's proved on him, 
and you'd better be sure you have the right one. I'm in 
for justice, and you're in for the money, that's plain." 

"Yas, I tank you lak it money, too." 

"I'll not put him in irons to-night unless you give me 



THE SWEDE'S TELEGRAM 353 

some better reason for your assertion. Why is he the 
man?" 

"I seen heem dot tarn, I know. He got it mark on hees 
head vere de blud run dot tam, yust de sam, all right. I 
know heem. He speek lak heem. He move hees arm lak 
heem. Yas, I know putty good." 

" You're sure you remember everything he said — all you 
told me?" 

"Oh, yas. I write it here," and he drew a small book 
from his pocket, very worn and soiled. "All iss here 
writed." 

"Let's see it." With a smile the Swede put it in Stiles* 
hand. He regarded it in a puzzled way. 

"What's this?" He handed the book back contemp- 
tuously. "You'll never be able to make that out, — all 
dirty and — " 

"Yas, I read heem, you not, — dot's Swedish." 

"Very well. Perhaps you know what you're about," 
and the discussion went on, until at last G. B. Stiles, partly 
by intimidation, partly by assumption of being able to get 
on without his services, persuaded Nels to modify his de- 
mands and accept three thousand for his evidence. Then 
the gray was put in the shafts again, and they drove to the 
town quietly, as if they had been to Rigg's Corners and 
back. 



CHAPTER XXVm 

"a resemblance somewhere" 

While G. B. Stiles and the big Swede were taking their 
drive and bargaining away Harry King's liberty, he had 
loitered about the town, and visited a few places familiar 
to him. First he went to the home of Elder Craigmile 
and found it locked, and the key in the care of one of the 
bank clerks who slept there during the owner's absence. 
After sitting a while on the front steps, with his elbows on 
his knees and his head in his hands, he rose and strolled 
out along the quiet country road on its grassy footpath, past 
the Ballards* home. 

Mary and Bertrand were out in the little orchard at the 
back of the house, gazing up at the apple blossoms that 
hung over their heads in great pale pink clouds. A sweet 
odor came from the lilacs that hung over the garden fence, 
and the sunlight streamed down on the peaceful home, and 
on the opening spring flowers — the borders of dwarf purple 
iris and big clusters of peonies, just beginning to bud, — 
and on the beehives scattered about with the bees flying 
out and in. Ah ! It was still the same — tempting and 
inviting. 

He paused at the gate, looking wistfully at the open door, 
but did not enter. No, he must keep his own counsel and 
hold to his purpose, without stirring these dear old friends 

354 



cc 



A RESEMBLANCE SOMEWHERE" 355 



to sorrowful sympathy. So he passed on, unseen by them, 
feeling the old love for the place and all the tender memories 
connected with it revived and deepened. On he went, 
strolling toward the little schoolhouse where he had found 
dear Betty Ballard sleeping at the big school desk the even- 
ing before, and passed it by — only looking in curiously 
at the tousled heads bent over their lessons, and at Betty 
herself, where she sat at the desk, a class on the long recita- 
tion bench before her, and a great boy standing at the black- 
board. He saw her rise and take the chalk from the 
boy's hand and make a few rapid strokes with it on the 
board. 

Little Betty a school-teacher ! She had suffered much ! 
How much did she care now ? Was it over and her heart 
healed? Had other loves come to her? All intent now 
on her work, she stood with her back toward him, and as 
he passed the open door she turned half about, and he saw 
her profile sharply against the blackboard. Older ? Yes, 
she looked older, but prettier for that, and slight and trim 
and neat, dressed in a soft shade of green. She had worn 
such a dress once at a picnic. Well he remembered it — 
could he ever forget ? Swiftly she turned again to the board 
and drew the eraser across the work, and he heard her 
voice distinctly, with its singing quality — how well he 
remembered that also — "Now, how many of the class can 
work this problem ?" 

Ah, little Betty ! little Betty ! Life is working problems 
for us all, and you are working yours to a sweet conclusion, 
helping the children, and taking up your own burdens and 
bearing them bravely. This was Harry King's thought as 
he strolled on and seated himself again under the basswood 



356 THE EYE OF DREAD 

tree by the meadow brook, and took from his pocket the 
worn scrap of paper the wind had brought him and read it 
again. 

" Out of my life, and into the night, 
But never out of my heart, my own. 
Into the darkness, out of the light, 
Bleeding and wounded and walking alone/ 1 

Such a tender, rhythmic bit of verse — Betty must have 
written it. It was like her. 

After a time he rose and strolled back again past the 
little schoolhouse, and it was recess. Long before he 
reached it he heard the voices of the children shouting, 
"Anty, anty over, anty, anty over." They were divided 
into two bands, one on either side of the small building, 
over which they tossed the ball and shouted as they tossed 
it, "Anty, anty over"; and the band on the other side, 
warned by the cry, caught the ball on the rebound if they 
could, and tore around the corner of the building, trying to 
hit with it any luckless wight on the other side, and so claim 
him for their own, and thus changing sides, the merry romp 
went on. 

Betty came to the door with the bell in her hand, and 
stood for a moment looking out in the sunshine. One of 
the smallest of the boys ran to her and threw his arms 
around her, and, looking up in her face, screamed in wildest 
excitement, "I caught it twice, Teacher, I did." 

With her hand on his head she looked in his eyes and 
smiled and tinkled her little bell, and the children, big and 
little, all came crowding through the door, hustling like a 
flock of chickens, and every boy snatched off his cap as he 
rushed by her. 



"A RESEMBLANCE SOMEWHERE" 357 

Ah, grave, dignified little Betty ! Who was that passing 
slowly along the road? Like a wild rose by the wayside 
she seemed to him, with her pink cheeks and in her soft 
green gown, framed thus by the doorway of the old school- 
house. Naturally she had no recognition for this bearded 
man, walking by with stiff, soldierly step, yet something 
caused her to look again, turning as she entered, and, when 
he looked back, their eyes met, and hers dropped before his, 
and she was lost to his sight as she closed the door after her. 
Of course she could not recognize him disguised thus with 
the beard on his face, and his dark, tanned skin. She did 
not recognize him, and he was glad, yet sore at heart. 

He had had all he could bear, and for the rest of the morn- 
ing he wrote letters, sitting in his room at Decker's hotel. 
Only two letters, but one was a very long one — to Amalia 
Manovska. Out in the world he dared not use her own 
name, so he addressed the envelope to Miss McBride, in 
Larry Kildene's care, at the nearest station to which they 
had agreed letters should be sent. Before he finished the 
second letter the gong sounded for dinner. The noon meal 
was always dinner at the hotel. He thrust his papers and 
the unfinished letter in his valise and locked it — and went 
below. 

G. B. Stiles was already there, seated in the same place 
as on the day before, and Harry took his seat opposite him, 
and they began a conversation in the same facile way, but 
the manner of the dry-goods salesman towards him seemed 
to have undergone a change. It had lost its swagger, and 
was more that of a man who could be a gentleman if he 
chose, while to the surprise of Stiles the manner of the young 
man was as disarmingly quiet and unconcerned as before, 



358 THE EYE OF DREAD 

and as abstracted. He could not believe that any man 
hovering on the brink of a terrible catastrophe, and one to 
avert which required concealment of identity, could be so 
unwary. He half believed the Swede was laboring under an 
hallucination, and decided to be deliberate, and await 
developments for the rest of the day. 

After dinner they wandered out to the piazza side by 
side, and there they sat and smoked, and talked over the 
political situation as they had the evening before, and 
Stiles was surprised at the young man's ignorance of general 
public matters. Was it ignorance, or indifference ? 

" I thought all you army men would stand by Grant to the 
drop of the hat." 

"Yes, I suppose we would." 

"You suppose so ! Don't you know? I carried a gun 
under Grant, and I'd swear to any policy he'd go in for, 
and what I say is, they haven't had quite enough down 
there. What the South needs is another licking. That's 
what it needs." 

"Oh, no, no, no. I was sick of fighting, long before 
they laid me up, and I guess a lot of us were." 

G. B. Stiles brought his feet to the floor with a stamp of 
surprise and turned to look full in the young man's face. 
For a moment he gazed on him thus, then grunted. "Ever 
feel one of their bullets ?" 

"Oh, yes." 

"That the mark, there over your temple ?" 

"No, it didn't do any harm to speak of. That's — 
where something — struck me." 

"Oh, you don't say !" Harry King rose. "Leaving?'* 

"No. I have a few letters to write — and — " 



a 



A RESEMBLANCE SOMEWHERE " 359 



"Sorry to miss you. Staying in town for some time ?" 

"I hardly know. I may." 

"Plans unsettled? Well, times are unsettled and no 
money stirring. My plans are all upset, too." 

The young man returned to his room and continued his 
writing. One short letter to Betty, inclosing the worn 
scrap of paper the wind had brought him; he kissed it 
before he placed it in the envelope. Then he wrote one to 
her father and mother jointly, and a long one to Hester 
Craigmile. Sometimes he would pause in his writing and 
tear up a page, and begin over again, but at last all were 
done and inclosed in a letter to the Elder and placed in a 
heavy envelope and sealed. Only the one to Amalia he 
did not inclose, but carried it out and mailed it himself. 

Passing the bank on the way to the post office, he dropped 
in and made quite a heavy deposit. It was just before 
closing time and the clerks were all intent on getting their 
books straight, preparatory to leaving. How well he re- 
membered that moment of restless turning of ledgers and 
the slight accession of eagerness in the younger clerks, as 
they followed the long columns of figures down with the 
forefinger of the left hand — the pen poised in the right. 
The whole scene smote him poignantly as he stood at the 
teller's window waiting. And he might have been doing 
that, he thought ! A whole lifetime spent in doing just 
that and more like it, year in and year out ! 

How had his life been better? He had sinned — and 
failed. Ah ! But he had lived and loved — lived terribly 
and loved greatly. God help him, how he loved ! Even 
for life to end here — either in prison or in death — still 
he had felt the tremendous passions, and understood the 



360 THE EYE OF DREAD 

meaning of their power in a human soul. This had life 
brought him, and a love beyond measure to crown all. 

The teller peered at him through the little window behind 
which he had stood so many years peering at people in this 
sleepy little bank, this sure, safe, little bank, always doing 
its conservative business in the same way, and heretofore 
always making good. He reached out a long, well-shaped 
hand, — a large-veined hand, slightly hairy at the wrist, 
to take the bank notes. How often had Harry King seen 
that hand stretched thus through the little window, draw- 
ing bank notes toward him ! Almost with a shock he saw 
it now reach for his own — for the first time. In the old 
days he had had none to deposit. It was always for others 
it had been extended. Now it seemed as if he must seize 
the hand and shake it, — the only hand that had been 
reached out to him yet, in this town where his boyhood had 
been spent. 

A young man who had preceded Harry King at the 
teller's window paused near by at the cashier's desk and 
began asking questions which Harry himself would have 
been glad to ask, but could not. 

He was an alert, bright-eyed young chap with a smiling 
face. " Good afternoon, Mr. Copeland. Any news for me 
to-day ? " 

Mr. Copeland was an elderly man of great dignity, and 
almost as much of a figure there as the Elder himself. It 
was an act of great temerity to approach him for items of 
news for the Leauvite Mercury. Of this fact the young 
reporter seemed to be blithely ignorant. All the clerks 
were covertly watching the outcome, and thus attention 
was turned from Harry King ; even the teller glanced f re- 



"A RESEMBLANCE SOMEWHERE" 361 

quently at the cashier's desk as he counted the bank notes 
placed in his hand. 

"News? No. No news," said Mr. Copeland, without 
looking up. 

"Thank you. It's my business to ask for it, you know. 
We're making more of a feature of personal items than ever 
before. We're up to date, you see. ' Find out what people 
want and then give it to them.' That's our motto." The 
young man leaned forward over the high railing that 
corralled the cashier in his pen apart from the public, 
smilingly oblivious of that dignitary's objections to 
an interview. "Expecting the return of Elder Craig- 
mile soon ? " 

At that question, to the surprise of all, the cashier sud- 
denly changed his manner to the suave affability with which 
he greeted people of consequence. "We are expecting 
Elder Craigmile shortly. Yes. Indeeed he may arrive 
any day, if the voyage is favorable." 

"Thank you. Mrs. Craigmile accompanies him, I 
suppose ? " 

"It is not likely, no. Her health demands — ahem — a 
little longer rest and change." 

" Ah ! The Elder not called back by — for any particular 
reason? No. Business going well? Good. I'm told 
there's a great deal of depression." 

"Oh, in a way — there may be, — but we're all of the 
conservative sort here in Leauvite. We're not likely to 
feel it if there is. Good afternoon." 

No one paid any attention to Harry King as he walked 
out after the Leauvite Mercury reporter, except Mr. Cope- 
land, who glanced at him keenly as he passed his desk. 



362 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Then, looking at his watch, he came out of his corral and 
turned the key in the bank door. 

"We'll have no more interruptions now," he said, as he 
paused at the teller's window. "You know the young man 
who just went out ?" 

"Sam Carter of the Mercury. Old Billings no doubt 
sent him in to learn how we stand." 

"No, no, no. Sam Carter — I know him. Who's the 
young man who followed him out ?" 

"I don't know. Here's his signature. He's just made 
a big deposit on long time — only one thousand on call. 
Unusual these days." 

Mr. Copeland's eyes glittered an instant. "Good. 
That's something. I decided to give the town people to 
understand that there is no need for their anxiety. It's 
the best policy, and when the Elder returns, he may be 
induced to withdraw his insane offer of reward. Ten thou- 
sand dollars ! It's ridiculous, when the young men may 
both be dead, for all the world will ever know." 

"If we could do that — but I've known the Elder too 
long to hope for it. This deposit stands for a year, see ? 
And the ten thousand the Elder has set one side for the 
reward gives us twenty thousand we could not count on 
yesterday." 

"In all the history of this bank we never were in so tight 
a place. It's extraordinary, and quite unnecessary . That's 
a bright boy — Sam Carter. I never thought of his put- 
ting such a construction on it when I admitted the 
fact that Mrs. Craigmile is to remain. Two big banks 
closed in Chicago this morning, and twenty small ones all 
over the country during the last three days. One goes 



"A RESEMBLANCE SOMEWHERE" 363 

and hauls another down. If we had only cabled across 
the Atlantic two weeks ago when I sent that letter — he 
must have the letter by now — and if he has, he's on the 
ocean." 

"This deposit tides us over a few days, and, as I said, if 
we could only get our hands on that reserve of the Elder's, 
we'd be safe whatever comes. ,, 

"He'll have to bend his will for once. He must be made 
to see it, and we must get our hands on it. I think he will. 
He'd cut off his right hand before he'd see this bank go 
under." 

"It's his son's murder that's eating into his heart. He's 
been losing ground ever since." 

The clerks gradually disappeared, quietly slipping out 
into the sunshine one by one as their books were balanced, 
and now the two men stood alone. It was a time used by 
them for taking account of the bank's affairs generally, 
and they felt the stability of that institution to be quite 
personal to them. 

"I've seen that young man before," said Mr. Copeland. 
"Now, who is he? Harry King — Harry King, — the 
Kings moved away from here — twelve years ago — wasn't 
it ? Their son would not be as old as this man." 

"Boys grow up fast. You never can tell." 

"The Kings were a short, thickset lot." 

"He may not be one of them. He said nothing about 
ever having been here before. I never talk with any one 
here at the window. It's quite against my rules for the 
clerks, and has to be so for myself, of course. I leave that 
sort of thing to you and the Elder." 

"I say — I've seen him before — the way he walks — 



364 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



the way he carries his head — there's a resemblance some- 
where.' ' 

The two men also departed, after looking to the safe, and 
the last duties devolving on them, seeing that all was 
locked and double-locked. It was a solemn duty, always 
attended to solemnly. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THE ARREST 

Sam Carter loitered down the street after leaving the 
bank, and when Harry King approached, he turned with his 
ready smile and accosted him. 

"Pleasant day. I see you're a stranger here, and I 
thought I might get an item from you. Carter's my name, 
and I'm doing the reporting for the Mercury. Be glad to 
make your acquaintance. Show you round a little." 

Harry was nonplused for a moment. Such things did 
not use to occur in this old-fashioned place as running about 
the streets picking up items from people and asking per- 
sonal questions for the paper to exploit the replies. He 
looked twice at Sam Carter before responding. 

"Thank you, I — I've been here before. I know the 
place pretty well." 

"Very pretty place, don't you think so? Mean to stop 
for some time?" 

"I hardly know as yet." Harry King mused a little, 
then resolved to break his loneliness by accepting the casual 
acquaintance, and to avoid personalities about himself by 
asking questions about the town and those he used to know, 
but whom he preferred not to see. It was an opportunity. 
"Yes, it is a pretty place. Have you been here long ?" 

" I've been here — let's see. About three years — maybe 
a little less. You must have been away from Leauvite 

36s 



366 THE EYE OF DREAD 

longer than that, I judge. I've never left the place since 
I came and I never saw you before. No wonder I thought 
you a stranger.'' 

"I may call myself one — yes. A good many changes 
since you came?" 

"Oh, yes. See the new courthouse? It's a beauty, — 
all solid stone, — cost fifty thousand dollars. The Mercury 
had a great deal to do with bringing it about, — working 
up enthusiasm and the like, — but there is a great deal of 
depression just now, and taxes running up. People think 
government is taking a good deal out of them for such public 
buildings, but, Lord help us ! the government is needing 
money just now as much as the people. It's hard to be 
public spirited when taxes are being raised. You have 
people here?" 

" Not now — no. Who's mayor here now ? " 

"Harding — Harding of the iron works. He makes a 
good one, too. There's the new courthouse. The jail is 
underneath at the back. See the barred windows? No 
breaking out of there. Three prisoners did break out of 
the old one during the year this building was under con- 
struction, — each in a different way, too, — shows how 
badly they needed a new one. Quite an ornament to the 
square, don't you think so ?" 

" The jail ? " 

"No, no, — The building as a whole. Better go over it 
while you're here." 

"I may — do so — yes." 

"Staying some time, I believe you said." 

"Did I ? I may have said so." 

"Staying at the hotel, I believe ?" 



THE ARREST 367 

"Yes, and here we are." Harry King stood an instant 
— undecided. Certain things he wished to know, but had 
not the courage to ask — not on the street — but maybe 
suited on the veranda he could ask this outsider, in a 
casual way. "Drop in with me and have a smoke." 

"I will, thank you. I often run in, — in the way of 
business, — but I haven't tried it as a stopping place. 
Meals pretty good ? " 

"Very good." They took seats at the end of the piazza 
where Harry King led the way. The sun was now low, but 
the air was still warm enough for comfort, and no one was 
there but themselves, for it lacked an hour to the return of 
the omnibus and the arrival of the usual loafers who con- 
gregated at that time. 

"You've made a good many acquaintances since you 
came, no doubt?" 

"Well — a good many — yes." 

"Know the Craigmiles?" 

"The Craigmiles? There's no one there to know — 
now — but the Elder. Oh, his wife, of course, but she 
stays at home so close no one ever sees her. They're away 
now, if you want to see them." 

"And she never goes out — you say ? " 

"Never since I've been in the town. You see, there was 
a tragedy in the family. Just before I came it happened, 
and I remember the town was all stirred up about it. Their 
son was murdered." 

Harry King gave a quick start, then gathered himself up 
in strong control and tilted his chair back against the wall. 

"Their son murdered?" he asked. "Tell me about it. 
All you know." 



3 68 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"That's just it — nobody knows anything. They know 
he was murdered, because he disappeared completely. The 
young man was called Peter Junior, after his father, of 
course — and he was the one that was murdered. They 
found every evidence of it. It was there on the bluff, above 
the wildest part of the river, where the current is so strong 
no man could live a minute in it. He would be dashed to 
death in the flood, even if he were not killed in the fall from 
the brink, and that young man was pushed over right there." 
"How did they know he was pushed over ?" 
"They knew he was. They found his hat there, and it 
was bloody, as if he had been struck first, and a club there, 
also bloody, — and it is believed he was killed first and 
then pushed over, for there is the place yet, after three 
years, where the earth gave way with the weight of some- 
thing shoved over the edge. Well, would you believe it 
— that old man has kept the knowledge of it from his 
wife all this time. She thinks her son quarreled with his 
father and went off, and that he will surely return some 
day." 

"And no one in the village ever told her ?" 
"All the town have helped the old Elder to keep it from 
her. You'd think such a thing impossible, wouldn't you ? 
But it's the truth. The old man bribed the Mercury to 
keep it out, and, by jiminy, it was done ! Here, in a town of 
this size where every one knows all about every one else's 
affairs — it was done ! It seems people took an especial 
interest in keeping it from her, yet every one was talking 
about it, and so I heard all there was to hear. Hallo ! 
What are you doing here ?" 
. This last remark was addressed to Nels Nelson, who 



THE ARREST 369 

appeared just below them and stood peering up at them 
through the veranda railing. 

"I yust vafting for Meestair Stiles. He toP me vait for 
heem here." 

" Mr. Stiles? Who's he?" 

"Dere he coomin\" 

As he spoke G. B. Stiles came through the hotel door and 
walked gravely up to them. Something in his manner, and 
in the expectant, watchful eye of the Swede, caused them 
both to rise. At the same moment, Kellar, the sheriff, 
came up the front steps and approached them, and placing 
his hand on Harry King's shoulder, drew from his pocket a 
pair of handcuffs. 

"Young man, it is my duty to arrest you. Here is my 
badge — this is quite straight — for the murder of Peter 
Craigmile, Jr." 

The young man neither moved nor spoke for a moment, 
and as he stood thus the sheriff took him by the arm, and 
roused him. "Richard Kildene, you are under arrest for 
the murder of your cousin, Peter Craigmile, Jr." 

With a quick, frantic movement, Harry King sprang 
back and thrust both men violently from him. The red of 
anger mounted to his hair and throbbed in his temples, 
then swept back to his heart, and left him with a deathlike 
pallor. 

"Keep back. I'm not Richard Kildene. You have the 
wrong man. Peter Craigmile was never murdered." 

The big Swede leaped the piazza railing and stood close 
to him, while the sheriff held him pinioned, and Sam Carter 
drew out his notebook. 

"You know me, Mr. Kellar, — stand off, I say. I am 



370 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Peter Craigmile. Look at me. Put away those handcuffs. 
It is I, alive, Peter Craigmile, Jr." 

"That's a very clever plea, butit's no go," said G. B. 
Stiles, and proceeded to fasten the irons on his wrists. 

" Yas, I know you dot man keel heem, all right. I hear 
you tol' some von you keel heem," said the Swede, slowly, 
in suppressed excitement. 

"You're a very good actor, young man, — mighty clever, 
— but it's no go. Now you'll walk along with us if you 
please," said Mr. Kellar. 

"But I tell you I don't please. It's a mistake. I am 
Peter Craigmile, Jr., himself, alive." 

"Well, if you are, you'll have a chance to prove it, but 
evidence is against you. If you are he, why do you come 
back under an assumed name during your father's absence ? 
A little hitch there you did not take into consideration." 

"I had my reasons — good ones — I — came back to con- 
fess to the — un — un — witting — killing of my cousin, 
Richard." He turned from one to the other, panting as if 
he had been running a race, and threw out his words im- 
petuously. "I tell you I came here for the very purpose of 
giving myself up — but you have the wrong man." 

By this time a crowd had collected, and the servants were 
running from their work all over the hotel, while the pro- 
prietor stood aloof with staring eyes. 

"Here, Mr. Decker, you remember me — Elder Craig- 
mile's son ? Some of you must remember me." 

But the proprietor only wagged his head. He would not 
be drawn into the thing. " I have no means of knowing who 
you are — no more than Adam. The name you wrote in 
my book was Harry King." 



THE ARREST 371 

"I tell you I had my reasons. I meant to wait here 
until the Elder's — my father's return and — " 

"And in the meantime we'll put you in a quiet little 
apartment, very private, where you can wait, while we 
look into things a bit." 

"You needn't take me through the streets with these 
things on ; I've no intention of running away. Let me go to 
my room a minute." 

"Yes, and put a bullet through your head. I've no 
intention of running any risks now we have you," said the 
detective. 

"Now you have who? You have no idea whom you 
have. Take off these shackles until I pay my bill. You 
have no objection to that, have you ? " 

They turned into the hotel, and the handcuffs were re- 
moved while the young man took out his pocketbook and 
paid his reckoning. Then he turned to them. 

"I must ask you to accompany me to my room while I 
gather my toilet necessities together." This they did, 
G. B. Stiles and the sheriff walking one on either side, while 
the Swede followed at their heels. "What are you doing 
here ? " he demanded, turning suddenly upon the stable man. 

"Oh, I yust lookin' a leetle out." 

" Mr. Stiles, what does this mean, that you have that man 
dogging me?" 

"It's his affair, not mine. He thinks he has a certain 
interest in you." 

Then he turned in exasperation to the sheriff. " Can you 
give me a little information, Mr. Kellar ? What has that 
Swede to do with me ? Why am I arrested for the murder 
of my own self — preposterous ! I, a man as alive as you 



372 THE EYE OF DREAD 

are ? You can see for yourself that I am Elder CraJgmfle's 
son. You know me ? " 

" I know the Elder fairly well — every one in Leauvite 
knows him, but I can't say as I've ever taken particular 
notice of his boy, and, anyway, the boy was murdered three 
years ago — a little over — for it was in the fall of the 
year — well, that's most four years — and I must say it's a 
mighty clever dodge, as Mr. Stiles says, for you to play 
off this on us. It's a matter that will bear looking into. 
Now you sit down here and hold on to yourself, while I 
go through your things. You'll get them all, never fear." 

Then Harry King sat down and looked off through the 
open window, and paid no heed to what the men were 
doing. They might turn his large valise inside out and 
read every scrap of written paper. There was nothing to 
give the slightest clew to his identity. He had left the 
envelope addressed to the Elder, containing the letters he 
had written, at the bank, to be placed in the safety vault, 
and not to be delivered until ordered to do so by himself. 

As they finished their search and restored the articles 
to his valise, he asked again that the handcuffs be left off 
as he walked through the streets. 

" I have no desire to escape. It is my wish to go with you. 
I only wish I might have seen the — my father first. He 
could not have helped me — but he would have understood 
— it would have seemed less — " 

He could not go on, and the sheriff slipped the handcuffs 
in his pocket, and they proceeded in silence to the court- 
house, where he listened to the reading of the warrant and 
his indictment in dazed stupefaction, and then walked 
again in silence between his captors to the jail in the rear. 



/ 



THE ARREST 373 

"No one has ever been in this cell," said Mr. Kellar. 
"I'm doing the best I can for you." 

" How long must I stay here ? Who brings accusation ? " 

"I don't know how long: as this is a murder charge 
you can't be bailed out, and the trial will take time. The 
Elder brings accusation — naturally." 

"When is he expected home ?" 

"Can't say. You'll have some one to defend you, and 
then you can ask all the questions you wish." The sheriff 
closed the heavy door and the key was turned. 

Then began weary days of waiting. If it had been pos- 
sible to get the trial over with, Harry would have been glad, 
but it made little difference to him now, since the step had 
been taken, and a trial in his case would only be a verdict, 
anyway — and confession was a simple thing, and the hear- 
ing also. 

The days passed, and he wondered that no one came to 
him — no friend of the old time. Where were Bertrand 
Ballard and Mary ? Where was little Betty ? Did they 
not know he was in jail? He did not know that others 
had been arrested on the same charge and released, more 
than once. True, no one had made the claim of being the 
Elder's own son and the murdered man himself. As such 
incidents were always disturbing to Betty, when Bertrand 
read the notice of the arrest in the Mercury, the paper was 
laid away in his desk and his little daughter was spared 
the sight of it this time. 

But he spoke of the matter to his wife. "Here is another 
case of arrest for poor Peter Junior's murder, Mary. The 
man claims to be Peter Junior himself, but as he registered 
at the hotel under an assumed name it is likely to be only 



374 THE EYE OF DREAD 

another attempt to get the reward money by some 
detective. It was very unwise for the Elder to make it 
so large a sum." 

"It can't be. Peter Junior would never be so cruel as 
to stay away all this time, if he were alive, no matter how 
deeply he may have quarreled with his father. I believe 
they both went over the bluff and are both dead." 

"It stands to reason that one or the other body would 
have been found in that case. One might be lost, but 
hardly both. The search was very thorough, even down 
to the mill race ten miles below." 

"The current is so swift there, they might have been 
carried over the race, and on, before the search began. I 
think so, although no one else seems to." 

"I wish the Elder would remove that temptation of the 
reward. It is only an inducement to crime. Time alone 
will solve the mystery, and as long as he continues to brood 
over it, he will go on failing in health. It's coming to an 
obsession with him to live to see Richard Kildene hung, 
and some one will have to swing for it if he has his way. 
Now he will return and find this man in jail, and will bend 
every effort, and give all his thought toward getting him 
convicted." 

"But I thought you said they do not hang in this state." 

"True — true. But imprisonment for life is — worse. 
I'm thinking of what the Elder would like could he have his 
way." 

"Bertrand — I believe the Elder is sure the man will be 
found and that it will kill his wife, when she conies to know 
that Peter Junior was murdered, and that is why he took 
her to Scotland. She told me she was sure her son was 



THE ARREST 375 

there, or would go to see his great aunts there, and that is 
why she consented to go — but I'm sure the Elder wished 
to get her out of the way." 

" Strange — strange," said Bertrand. " After all, it is 
better to forgive. No one knows what transpired, and 
Richard is the real sufferer." 

"Do you suppose he'll leave Hester there, Bertrand?" 

"I hardly think she would be left, but it is impossible to 
tell. A son's loss is more than any other — to a mother." 

"Do you think so, Bertrand? It would be hardest of 
all to lose a husband, and the Elder has failed so much since 
Peter Junior's death." 

"Peter Junior seems to be the only one who has escaped 
suffering in this tragedy. Remorse in Richard's case, and 
stubborn anger in the Elder's — they are emotions that 
take large toll out of a nfan's vitality. If ever Richard is 
found, he will not be the young man we knew." 

"Unless he is innocent. All this may have been an 
accident." 

"Then why is he staying in hiding ?" 

"He may have felt there was no way to prove his in- 
nocence." 

"Well, there is another reason why the Elder should 
withdraw his offer of a reward, and when he comes back, 
I mean to try what can be done once more. Everything 
would have to be circumstantial. He will have a hard 
time to prove his nephew's guilt." 

"I can't see why he should try to prove it. It must have 
been an accident — at the last. Of course it might have 
been begun in anger, in a moment of misunderstanding, but 
the nature of the boys would go to show that it never could 
have been done intentionally. It is impossible." 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE ARGUMENT 

"Mr. Ballard, either my son was murdered, or he was a 
murderer. The crime falls upon us, and the disgrace of it, 
no matter how you look at it." The Elder sat in the back 
room at the bank, where his friend had been arguing with 
him to withdraw the offer of a reward for the arrest. " It's 
too late, now — too late. The man's found and he claims 
to be my son. You're a kindly man, Mr. Ballard, but a 
blind one." 

Bertrand drew his chair closer to the Elder's, as if by so 
doing he might establish a friendlier thought in the man's 
heart. "Blind? Blind, Elder Craigmile?" 

"I say blind. I see. I see it all." The Elder rose and 
paced the floor. "The boys fought, there on the bluff, and 
sought to kill each other, and for the same cause that has 
wrought most of the evil in the world. Over the love of 
a woman they fought. Peter carried a blackthorn stick 
that ought never to have been in my house — you know, for 
you brought it to me — and struck his cousin with it, and 
at the same instant was pushed over the brink, as Richard 
intended." 

"How do you know that Richard was not pushed over ? 
How do you know that he did not fall over with his cousin ? 
How can you dare work for a man's conviction on such 
slight evidence?" 

376 



THE ARGUMENT 377 

"How do I know? Although you would favor that — 
that — although — " The Elder paused and struggled 
for control, then sat weakly down and took up the argu- 
ment again with trembling voice. "Mr. Ballard, I would 
spare you — much of this matter which has been brought 
to my knowledge — but I cannot — because it must come 
out at the trial. It was over your little daughter, Betty, 
that they fought. She has known all these years that 
Richard Kildene murdered her lover." 

"Elder — Elder! Your brooding has unbalanced your 
mind. ,, 

"Wait, my friend. This falls on you with but half the 
burden that I have borne. My son was no murderer. 
Richard Kildene is not only a murderer, but a coward. 
He went to your daughter while we were dragging the river 
for my poor boy's body, and told her he had murdered her 
lover ; that he pushed him over the bluff and that he in- 
tended to do so. Now he adds to his crime — by — coming 
here — and pretending — to be — my son. He shall hang. 
He shall hang. If he does not, there is no justice in 
heaven." The Elder looked up and shook his hand above 
his head as if he defied the whole heavenly host. 

Bertrand Ballard sat for a moment stunned. Such a 
preposterous turn was beyond his comprehension. 
Strangely enough his first thought was a mere contradiction, 
and he said: "Men are not hung in this state. You will 
not have your wish." He leaned forward, with his elbows 
on the great table and his head in his hands ; then, with- 
out looking up, he said: "Go on. Go on. How did 
you come by this astounding information ? Was it from 
Betty?" 



378 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Then may he be shut in the blackest dungeon for 
the rest of his life. No, it was not from Betty. Never. 
She has kept this terrible secret well. I have not seen your 
daughter — not — since — since this was told me. It has 
been known to the detective and to my attorney, Milton 
Hibbard, for two years, and to me for one year — just 
before I offered the increased reward to which you so object. 
I had reason." 

"Then it is as I thought. Your offer of ten thousand 
dollars reward has incited the crime of attempting to con- 
vict an innocent man. Again I ask you, how did you come 
by this astounding information ?" 

"By the word of an eyewitness. Sit still, Mr. Ballard, 
until you hear the whole ; then blame me if you can. A few 
years ago you had a Swede working for you in your garden. 
You boarded him. He slept in a little room over your 
summer kitchen ; do you remember ? " 
"Yes." 

"He saw Richard Kildene come to the house when we 
were all away — while you were with me — your wife with 
mine, — and your little daughter alone. This Swede heard 
all that was said, and saw all that was done. His testi- 
mony alone will — " 

" Convict a man ? It is greed ! What is your detective 
working for and why does this Swede come forward at this 
late day with his testimony ? Greed ! Elder Craigmile, 
how do you know that this testimony is not all made up 
between them ? I will go home and ask Betty, and learn 
the truth." 

"And why does the young man come here under an as- 
sumed name, and when he is discovered, claim to be my 



THE ARGUMENT 379 

son ? The only claim he could make that could save him ! 
If he knows anything, he knows that if he pretends he is 
my son — laboring under the belief that he has killed 
Richard Kildene — when he knows Richard's death can 
be disproved by your daughter's statement that she saw 
and talked with Richard — he knows that he may be re- 
leased from the charge of murder and may establish himself 
here as the man whom he himself threw over the bluff, and 
who, therefore, can never return to give him the lie. I say 
— if this is proved on him, he shall suffer the extreme 
penalty of the law, or there is no justice in the land." 

Bertrand rose, sadly shaken. "This is a very terrible 
accusation, my friend. Let us hope it may not be proved 
true. I will go home and ask Betty. You will take her 
testimony before that of the Swede?" 

" If you are my friend, why are you willing my son should 
be proven a murderer? It is a deep-laid scheme, and 
Richard Kildene walks close in his father's steps. I have 
always seen his father in him. I tried to save him for my 
sister's sake. I brought him up in the nurture and admoni- 
tion of the Lord, and did for him all that fathers do for 
their sons, and now I have the fool's reward — the reward 
of the man who warmed the viper in his bosom. He, to 
come here and sit in my son's place — to eat bread at my 
table — at my wife's right hand — with her smile in his 
eyes? Rather he shall — " 

"We will find out the truth, and, if possible, you shall be 
saved from yourself, Elder Craigmile, and your son will 
not be proven a murderer. Let me still be your friend." 
Bertrand's voice thrilled with suppressed emotion and the 
sympathy he could not utter, as he held out his hand, which 



380 THE EYE OF DREAD 

the Elder took in both his own shaking ones. His voice 
trembled with suppressed emotion as he spoke. 

" Pray God Hester may stay where she is until this thing 
is over. And pray God you may not be blinded by love 
of your daughter, who was not true to my son. She was 
promised to become his wife, but through all these years 
she protects by her silence the murderer of her lover. 
Ponder on this thought, Bertrand Ballard, and pray God 
you may have the strength to be just." 

Bertrand walked homeward with bowed head. It was 
Saturday. The day's baking was in progress, and Mary 
Ballard was just removing a pan of temptingly browned 
tea cakes from the oven when he entered. She did not 
see his face as he asked, "Mary, where can I find Betty?" 

"Upstairs in the studio, drawing. Where would you 
expect to find her?" she said gayly. Something in her 
husband's voice touched her. She hastily lifted the cakes 
from the pan and ran after him. 

"What is it, dear?" 

He was halfway up the stairs and he turned and came 
back to her. "IVe heard something that troubles me, and 
must see her alone, Mary. I'll talk with you about it 
later. Don't let us be disturbed until we come down." 

"I think Janey is with her now." 

"I'll send her down to you." 

"Bertrand, it is something terrible ! You are trying to 
spare me — don't do it." 

"Ask no questions." 

"Tell Janey I want her to help in the kitchen." 

Mary went back to her work in silence. If Bertrand 
wished to be alone with Betty, he had a good reason ; and 



THE ARGUMENT 381 

presently Janey skipped in and was set to paring the pota- 
toes for dinner. 

Bertrand found Betty bending closely over a drawing 
for which she had no model, but which was intended to 
illustrate a fairy story. She was using pen and ink, and 
trying to imitate the fine strokes of a steel engraving. He 
stood at her side, looking down at her work a moment, and 
his artist's sense for the instant crowded back other 
thoughts. 

"You ought to have a model, daughter, and you should 
work in chalk or charcoal for your designing." 

"I know, father, but you see I am trying to make some 
illustrations that will look like what are in the magazines. 
I'm making fairies, father, and you know I can't find any 
models, so I have to make them up." 

"Put that away. I have some questions to ask you." 

"What's the matter, daddy? You look as if the sky 
were falling." He had seated himself on the long lounge 
where she had once sat and chatted with Peter Junior. She 
recalled that day. It was when he kissed her for the first 
time. Her cheeks flushed hotly as they always did now 
when she thought of it, and her eyes were sad. She went 
over and established herself at her father's side. 

"What is it, daddy, dear?" 

"Betty," — he spoke sternly, as she had never heard 
him before, — "have you been concealing something from 
your father and mother — and from the world — for the 
last three years and a half ? " 

Her head drooped, the red left her cheeks, and she turned 
white to the lips. She drew away from her father and 
clasped her hands in her lap, tightly. She was praying 



382 THE EYE OF DREAD 

for strength to tell the truth. Ah, could she do it ? Could 
she do it ! And perhaps cause Richard's condemnation ? 
Had they found him? — that father should ask such a 
question now, after so long a time ?" 

" Why do you ask me such a question, father ?" 

"Tell me the truth, child." 

" Father ! I — I — can't," and her voice died away to a 
whisper. 

"You can and you must, Betty." 

She rose and stood trembling before him with clinched 
hands. "What has happened? Tell me. It is not fair 
to ask me such a question unless you tell me why." Then 
she dropped upon her knees and hid her face against his 
sleeve. "If you don't tell me what has happened, I will 
never speak again. I will be dumb, even if they kill me." 

He put his arm tenderly about the trembling little form, 
and the act brought the tears and he thought her softened. 
He knew, as Mary had often said, that "Betty could not be 
driven, but might be led." 

"Tell father all about it, little daughter." But she did 
not open her lips. He waited patiently, then asked again, 
kindly and persistently, "What have you been hiding, 
Betty?" but she only sobbed on. "Betty, if you do not 
tell me now and here, you will be taken into court and made 
to tell all you know before all the world ! You will be 
proven to have been untrue to the man you were to marry 
and who loved you, and to have been shielding his mur- 
derer." 

"Then it is Richard. They have found him?" She 
shrank away from her father and her sobs ceased. "It 
has come at last. Father — if — if — I had — been mar- 



THE ARGUMENT 383 

ried to Richard — then would they make me go in court 
and testify against him ?" 

"No. A wife is not compelled to give testimony against 
her husband, nor may she testify for him, either." 

Betty rose and straightened herself defiantly; with 
flaming cheeks and flashing eyes she looked down upon 
him. 

"Then I will tell one great lie — father — and do it 
even if — if it should drag me down to — hell. I will say 
I am married to Richard — and will swear to it." Bertrand 
was silent, aghast. "Father ! Where is Richard ?" 

"He is there in Leauvite, in jail. You must do what is 
right in the eye of God, my child, and tell the truth." 

"If I tell the truth, — they will do what is right in their 
own eyes. They don't know what is right in the eye of 
God. If they drag me into court — there before all the 
world I will lie to them until I drop dead. Has — has — 
the Elder seen him?" 

"Not yet. He refused to see him until the trial." 

"He is a cruel, vindictive old man. Does he think it 
will bring Peter back to lif e again to hang Richard ? Does 
he think it will save his wife from sorrow, or — or bring 
any one nearer heaven to do it ? " 

"If Richard has done the thing he is accused of doing, he 
deserves the extremest rigor of the law." 

"Father ! Don't let the Elder make you hard like him- 
self. What is he accused of doing ? " 

"He is making claim that he is Peter Junior, and that 
he has come back to Leauvite to give himself up for the 
murder of his cousin, Richard Kildene. He thinks, no 
doubt, that you will say that you know Richard is living, 



384 THE EYE OF DREAD 

and that he has not killed him, and in that way he thinks 
to escape punishment, by proving that Peter also is living, 
and is himself. Do you see how it is ? He has chosen to 
live here an impostor rather than to live in hiding as an out- 
cast, and is trading on his likeness to his cousin to bear him 
out. I had hoped that it was all a detective's lie, got up 
for the purpose of getting hold of the reward money, but 
now I see it is true — the most astounding thing a man 
ever tried. ,, 

"Did he send you to me?" 

"No, child. I have not seen him." 

"Father Bertrand Ballard ! Have you taken some de- 
tective's word and not even tried to see him ? " 

"Child, child! He is pkying a desperate game, and 
taking an ignoble part. He is doing a dastardly thing, and 
the burden is laid on you to confess to the secret you have 
been hiding and tell the truth." 

Bertrand spoke very sadly, and Betty's heart smote her 
for his sorrow; yet she felt the thing was impossible for 
Richard to do, and that she must hold the secret a little 
longer — all the more because even her father seemed 
now to credit the terrible accusation. She threw her arms 
about his neck and implored him. 

"Oh, father, dear ! Take me to the jail to see him, and 
after that I will try to do what is right. I can think clearer 
after I have seen him." 

"I don't know if that will be allowed — but — " 

"It will have to be allowed. How can I say if it is 
Richard until I see him. It may not be Richard. The 
Elder is too blinded to even go near him, and dear Mrs. 
Craigmile is not here. Some one ought to go in fairness 



THE ARGUMENT 385 

to Richard — who loves — " She choked and could say no 
more. 

" I will talk to your mother first. There is another thing 
that should soften your heart to the Elder. All over the 
country there is financial trouble. Banks are going to 
pieces that never were in trouble before, and Elder Craig- 
mile's bank is going, he fears. It will be a terrible crash, 
and we fear he may not outlive the blow. I tell you this, 
even though you may not understand it, to soften your 
heart toward him. He considers it in the nature of a dis- 
grace.' ' 

"Yes. I understand, better than you think." Betty's 
voice was sad, and she looked weary and spent. "If the 
bank breaks, it breaks the Elder's heart. All the rest he 
could stand, but not that. The bank, the bank ! He tried 
to sacrifice Peter Junior to that bank. He would have 
broken Peter's heart for that bank, as he has his wife's ; 
for if it had not been for Peter's quarrel with his father, first 
of all, over it, I don't believe all the rest would have hap- 
pened. Peter told me a lot. I know." 

"Betty, did you never love Peter Junior? Tell father." 

" I thought I did. I thought I knew I did, — but when 
Richard came home — then — I — I — knew I had made 
a terrible mistake ; but, father, I meant to stand by Peter 
— and never let anybody know until — Oh, father, need 
I tell any more?" 

"No, my dear. You would better talk with your 
mother." 

Bertrand Ballard left the studio more confused in his 
mind, and yet both sadder and wiser then he had ever been 
in his life. He had seen a little way into his small daughter's 



386 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



soul, and conceived of a power of spirit beyond him, al- 
though he considered her both unreasonable and wrong. 
He grieved for her that she had carried such a great burden 
so bravely and so long. How great must have been her 
love, or her infatuation I The pathetic knowledge har- 
dened his heart toward the young man in the jail, and he no 
longer tried to defend him in his thoughts. 

He sent Mary up to talk with Betty, and that afternoon 
they all walked over to the jail; for Mary could get no 
nearer her little daughter's confidence, and no deeper into 
the heart of the matter than Betty had allowed her father 
to go. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

ROBERT KATER'S SUCCESS 

"Halloo! So it's here!" Robert Kater stood by a 
much-littered table and looked down on a few papers and 
envelopes which some one had laid there during his absence. 
All day long he had been wandering about the streets of 
Paris, waiting — passing the time as he could in his im- 
patience — hoping for the communication contained in 
one of these very envelopes. Now that it had come he 
felt himself struck with a singular weakness, and did not 
seize it and tear it open. Instead, he stood before the table, 
his hands in his pockets, and whistled softly. 

He made the tour of the studio several times, pausing 
now and then to turn a canvas about, apparently as if he 
would criticize it, looking at it but not regarding it, only 
absently turning one and another as if it were a habit with 
him to do so; then returning to the table he stirred the en- 
velopes apart with one finger and finally separated one from 
the rest, bearing an official seal, and with it a small package 
carefully secured and bearing the same seal, but he did not 
open either. " Yes, it's here, and that's the one," he said, but 
he spoke to himself, for there was no one else in the room. 

He moved wearily away, keeping the packet in his hand, 
but leaving the envelope on the table, and hung his hat upon 
a point of an easel and wiped his damp brow. As he did so, 
he lifted the dark brown hair from his temple, showing a 
jagged scar. Quickly, as if with an habitual touch, he 

387 



388 THE EYE OF DREAD 

rearranged the thick, soft lock so that the scar was covered, 
and mounting a dais, seated himself on a great thronelike 
chair covered with a royal tiger skin. The head of the 
tiger, mounted high, with glittering eyes and fangs showing, 
rested on the floor between his feet, and there, holding the 
small packet in his hand, with elbows resting on the arms of 
the throne, he sat with head dropped forward and shoulders 
lifted and eyes fixed on the tiger's head. 

For a long time he sat thus in the darkening room. At 
last it grew quite dark. Only the great skylight over his 
head showed a defined outline. The young man had had 
no dinner and no supper, for his pockets were empty and 
his last sou gone. If he had opened the envelopes, he would 
have found money, and more than money, for he would 
have learned that the doors of the Salon had opened to him 
and the highest medal awarded him, and that for which he 
had toiled and waited and hoped, — for which he had 
staked his last effort and sacrificed everything, was won. 
He was recognized, and all Paris would quickly know it, and 
not Paris only, but all the world. But when he would open 
the envelope, his hands fell slack, and there it still lay on the 
table concealed by the darkness. 

Down three flights of stairs in the court a strange and 
motley group were collecting, some bearing candles, all 
masked, some fantastically dressed and others only con- 
cealed by dominoes. The stairs went up on the outer 
wall of this inner court, past the windows of the basement 
occupied by the concierge and his wife and pretty daughter, 
and entered the building on the first floor above. By this 
arrangement the concierge could always see from his win- 
dow who mounted them. 



ROBERT KATER'S SUCCESS 389 

"Look, mamma." The pretty daughter stood peering 
out, her face framed in the white muslin curtains. "Look. 
See the students. Ah, but they are droll !" 

"Come away, ma fille." 

"But the owl and the ape, there, they seem on very good 
terms. I wonder if they go to the room of Monsieur 
Kater ! I think so ; for one — the ghost in white, he is a 
little lame like the Englishman who goes always to the 
room of Monsieur. — Ah, bah! Imbecile ! Away with 
you! Pig!" 

The ape had suddenly approached his ugly face close to 
the face framed in the white muslin curtains on the other 
side of the window, and made exaggerated motions of an 
embrace. The wife of the concierge snatched her daughter 
away and drew the curtains close. 

"Foolish child ! Why do you stand and watch the rude 
fellows ? This is what you get by it. I have told you to 
keep your eyes within." 

"But I love to see them, so droll they are." 

Stealthily the fantastic creatures began to climb the stairs, 
one, two, three flights, traversing a long hall at the end of* 
each flight and turning to climb again. The expense of 
keeping a light on each floor for the corridors was not 
allowed in this building, and they moved along in the dark- 
ness, but for the flickering light of the few candles carried 
among them. As they neared the top they grew more 
stealthy and kept close together on the landing outside the 
studio door. One stooped and listened at the keyhole, then 
tried to look through it. "Not there ? " whispered another. 

i ' No light, ' ' was the whispered reply. They spoke now in 
French, now in English. 



390 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"He has heard us and hid himself. He is a strange man, 
this Scotchman. He did not attend the 'Vernissage,' nor 
the presentation of prizes, yet he wins the highest." The 
owl stretched out an arm, bare and muscular, from under 
his wing and tried the door very gently. It was not 
locked, and he thrust his head within, then reached back 
and took a candle from the ghost. "This will give 
light enough. Put out the rest of yours and make no 
noise." 

Thus in the darkness they crept into the studio and 
gathered around the table. There they saw the unopened 
envelopes. 

"He is not here. He does not know," said one and 
another. 

"Where then can he be?" 

"He has taken a panic and fled. I told you so," said the 
ghost. 

"Ah, here he is ! Behold ! The Hamlet of our ghost ! 
Wake, Hamlet; your father's spirit has arrived," cried one 
in English with a very French accent. 

They now gathered before the dais, shouting and cheering 
in both English and French. One brought the envelopes 
on a palette and presented them. The young man gazed 
at them, stupidly at first, then with a feverish gleam in his 
eyes, but did not take them. 

"Yes, I found them when I came in — but they are — 
not for me." 

"They are addressed to you, Robert Kater, and the news 
is published and you leave them here unopened." 

"He does not know — I told you so." 

"You have the packet in your hand. Open it. Take it 



ROBERT KATER'S SUCCESS 391 

from him and decorate him. He is in a dream. It is the 
great medal. We will wake him." 

They began to cheer and cheer again, each after the 
manner of the character he had assumed. The ass brayed, 
the owl hooted, the ghost groaned. The ape leaped on the 
back of the throne whereon the young man still sat, and 
seized him by the hair, chattering idiotically after the man- 
ner of apes, and began to wag his head back and forth. In 
the midst of the uproar Demosthenes stepped forward and 
took the envelopes from the palette, and, tearing them open, 
began reading them aloud by the light of a candle held for 
him by Lady Macbeth, who now and then interrupted with 
the remark that "her little hand was stained with blood," 
stretching forth an enormous, hairy hand for their inspec- 
tion. But as Demosthenes read on the uproar ceased, 
and all listened with courteous attention. The ape leaped 
down from the back of the throne, the owl ceased hooting, 
and all were silent until the second envelope had been 
opened and the contents made known — that his exhibit 
had been purchased by the Salon. 

"Robert Kater, you are at the top. We congratulate 
you. To be recognized by the 'Salon des Artistes Fran- 
caises' is to be recognized and honored by all the world." 

They all came forward with kindly and sincere words, 
and the young man stood to receive them, but reeling and 
swaying, weary with emotion, and faint with hunger. 

"Were you not going to the mask ?" 

"I was weary; I had not thought." 

"Then wake up and go. We come for you." 

"I have no costume." 

"Ah, that is nothing. Make one; it is easy." 



392 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"He sits there like his own Saul, enveloped in gloom. 
Come, I will be your David," cried one, and snatched a 
guitar and began strumming it wildly. 

While the company scattered and searched the studio for 
materials with which to create for him a costume for the 
mask, the ghost came limping up to the young man who had 
seated himself again wearily on the throne, and spoke to 
him quietly. 

"The tide's turned, Kater ; wake up to it. You're clear 
of the breakers. The two pictures you were going to destroy 
are sold. I brought those Americans here while you were 
away and showed them. I told you they'd take something 
as soon as you were admitted. Here's the money." 

Robert Kater raised himself, looking in the eyes of his 
friend, and took the bank notes as if he were not aware 
what they really might be. 

"I say ! You've enough to keep you for a year if you 
don't throw it away. Count it. I doubled your price and 
they took them at the price I made. Look at these." 

Then Robert Kater looked at them with glittering eyes, 
and his shaking hand shut upon them, crushing the bank 
notes in a tight grip. "We'll halve it, share and sha^e 
alike," he whispered, staring at the ghost without counting 
it. "As for this," his finger touched the decoration on his 
breast — "it is given to a 7— You won't take half ? Then 
I'll throw them away." 

> 

"I'll take them all until you're sane enough to know what 
you're doing. Give them to me." He took them back 
and crept quietly, ghostlike, about the room until he found 
a receptacle in which he knew they would be safe ; then, 
removing one hundred francs from the amount, he brought 



ROBERT RATER'S SUCCESS 393 

it back and thrust it in his friend's pocket. "There — 
that's enough for you to throw away on us to-night. Why 
are you taking off your decoration ? Leave it where it is. 
It's yours." 

"Yes, I suppose it is." Robert Kater brushed his hand 
across his eyes and stepped down from the throne. Then 
lifting his head and shoulders as if he threw off a burden, he 
leaped from the dais, and with one long howl, began an 
Indian war dance. He was the center and life of the hila- 
rious crowd from that moment. The selection of materials 
had been made. A curtain of royal purple hung behind 
the throne, and this they threw around him as a toga, then 
crowned him as Mark Antony. They found for him also 
a tunic of soft wool, and with a strip of gold braid they con- 
verted a pair of sheepskin bedroom slippers into sandals, 
bound on his feet over his short socks. 

"I say! Mark Antony never wore things like these," 
he shouted. " Give me a mask. I'll not wear these things 
without a mask." He snatched at the head of the owl, 
who ducked under his arm and escaped. " Go then. This 
is better. Mark, the illustrious, was an ass." He made a 
dive for the head of his braying friend and barely missed him. 

"Come. We waste time. Cleopatra awaits him at 
'la Fourchette d'or ' ; all our Cleopatras await us there." 

"Surely?" 

"Surely. Madame la Charne is there and the sisters 
Lucie and Bertha, — all are there, — and with them one 
very beautiful blonde whom you have never seen." 

"She is for you — you cold Scotchman! That stone 
within you, which you call heart, to-night it will melt." 

"You have everything planned then ?" 



394 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



"Everything is made ready." 

"Look here ! Wait, my friends ! I haven't expressed 
myself yet." They were preparing to lift him above their 
heads. "I wish to say that you are all to share my good 
fortune and allow — " 

"Wait for the champagne. You can say it then with 
more force." 

"I say ! Hold on ! I ask you to — " 

"So we do. We hold on. Now, up — so." He was 
borne in triumph down the stairs and out on the street 
and away to the sign of the Golden Fork, and seated at 
the head of the table in a small banquet room opening off 
from the blacony at one side where the feast which had been 
ordered and prepared was awaiting them. 

A group of masked young women, gathered on the bal- 
cony, pelted them with flowers as they passed beneath it, 
and when the men were all seated, they trooped out, and 
each slid into her appointed place, still masked. 

Then came a confusion of tongues, badinage, repartee, 
wit undiluted by discretion — and rippling laughter as one 
mask after another was torn off. 

"Ah, how glad I am to be rid of it ! I was suffocating," 
said a soft voice at Robert Kater's side. 

He looked down quickly into a pair of clear, red-brown 
eyes — eyes into which he had never looked before. 

"Then we are both content that it is off." He smiled 
as he spoke. She glanced up at him, then down and away. 
When she lifted her eyes an instant later again to his face, 
he was no longer regarding her. She was piqued, and 
quickly began conversing with the man on her left, the one 
who had removed her mask. 



ROBERT -RATER'S SUCCESS 395 

"It is no use, your smile, mademoiselle. He is imper- 
vious, that man. He has no sense or he could not turn his 
eyes away." 

"I like best the impervious ones." With a light 
ripple of laughter she turned again to her right. "Mon- 
sieur has forgotten ?" 

"Forgotten?" Robert was mystified until he realized 
in the instant that she was pretending to a former acquaint- 
ance. " Could I forget, madamoiselle ? Permit me." He 
lifted his glass. "To your eyes — and to your — memory," 
he said, and drank it off. 

After that he became the gayest of them all, and the 
merriment never flagged. He ate heartily, for he was very 
hungry, but he drank sparingly. His brain seemed supplied 
with intellectual missiles which he hurled right and left, 
but when they struck, it was only to send out a rain of 
sparks like the balls of holiday fireworks that explode in 
a fountain of brilliance and hurt no one. 

"Monsieur is so gay !" said the soft voice of the blonde 
at his side. 

"Are we not here for that, to enjoy ourselves ?" 

"Ah, if I could but believe that you remember me !" 

"Is it possible mademoiselle thinks herself one to be so 
easily forgotten?" 

"Monsieur, tell me the truth." She glanced up archly. 
"I have one very good reason for asking." 

"You are very beautiful." 

"But that is so banal — that remark." 

"You complain that I tell you the truth when you ask 
it? You have so often heard it that the telling becomes 
banal ? Shall I continue ? " 



396 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"But it is of yourself that I would hear." 

"So ? Then it is as I feared. It is you who have for- 
gotten." 

They were interrupted at that moment, for he was called 
upon for a story, and he related one of his life as a soldier, 
— a little incident, but everything pleased. They called 
upon him for another and another. The hour grew late, 
and at last the banqueters rose and began to remask and 
assume their various characters. 

"What are you, monsieur, with that very strange dress 
that you wear, a Roman or a Greek ? " asked his companion. 

"I really don't know — a sort of nondescript. I did not 
choose my costume ; it was made up for me by my friends. 
They called me Mark Antony, but that was because 
they did not know what else to call me. But they promised 
me Cleopatra if I would come with them." 

"They would have done better to call you Petrarch, for 
I am Laura." 

"But I never could have taken that part. I could make 
a very decent sort of ass of myself, but not a poet." 

"What a very terrible voice your Lady Macbeth has !" 

"Yes; but she was a terror, you know. Shall we follow 
the rest?" 

They all trooped out of the caf6, and fiacres were called 
to take them to the house where the mask was held. The 
women were placed in their respective carriages, but the 
men walked. At the door of the house, as they entered the 
ballroom, they reunited, but again were soon scattered. 
Robert Kater wandered about, searching here and there for 
his very elusive Laura, so slim and elegant in her white 
and gold draperies, who seemed to be greatly in demand. 



ROBERT KATER'S SUCCESS 397 

He saw many whom he recognized; some by their carriage, 
some by their voices, but Laura baffled him. Had he ever 
seen her before? He could not remember. He would 
not have forgotten her — never. No, she was amusing 
herself with him. 

"Monsieur does not dance?" It was a Spanish gypsy 
with her lace mantilla and the inevitable red rose in her 
hair. He knew the voice. It was that of a little model he 
sometimes employed. 

" I dance, yes. But I will only take you out on the floor, 
my little Julie, — ha — ha — I know you, never fear — I 
will take you out on the floor, but on one condition." 

"It is granted before I know it." 

"Then tell me, who is she just passing?" 

"The one whose clothing is so — so — as if she would 
pose for the — " 

"Hush, Julie. The one in white and gold." 

"I asked if it were she. Yes, I know her very well, for I 
saw a gentleman unmask her on the balcony above there, to 
kiss her. It is she who dances so wonderfully at the Op6ra 
Comique. You have seen her, Mademoiselle Fee. Ah, 
come. Let us dance. It is the most perfect waltz." 

At the close of the waltz the owl came and took the little 
gypsy away from Robert, and a moment later he heard the 
mellifluous voice of his companion of the banquet. 

" I am so weary, monsieur. Take me away where we may 
refresh ourselves." 

The red-brown eyes looked pleadingly into his, and the 
slender fingers rested on his arm, and together they wandered 
to a corner of palms where he seated her and brought her 
cool wine jelly and other confections. She thanked him 



398 THE EYE OF DREAD 

sweetly, and, drooping, she rested her head upon her hand 
and her arm on the arm of her chair. 

"So dull they are, these ffites, and the people — bah! 
They are dull to the point of despair." 

She was a dream of gold and white as she sat there — the 
red-gold hair and the red-brown eyes, and the soft gold and 
white draperies, too clinging, as the little gypsy had 
indicated, but beautiful as a gold and white lily. He sat 
beside her and gazed on her dreamily, but in a manner too 
detached. She was not pleased, and she sighed. 

"Take the refreshment, mademoiselle; you will feel 
better. I will bring you wine. What will you have ?" 

"Oh, you men, who always think that to eat and drink 
something alone can refresh ! Have you never a sadness ? " 

"Very often, mademoiselle." 

"Then what do you do ?" 

"I eat and drink, mademoiselle. Try it." 

"Oh, you strange man from the cold north ! You make 
me shiver. Touch my hand. See ? You have made me 
cold." 

" Cold ? You are a flame from the crown of gold on your 
head to your shoes of gold." 

"Now that you are become a success, monsieur, what 
will you do? To you is given the heart's desire." She 
toyed with the quivering jelly, merely tasting it. It too 
was golden in hue, and golden lights danced in the heart 
of it. 

"A great success ? I am dreaming. It is so new to me 
that I do not believe it." 

"You are very clever, monsieur. You never tell your 
thoughts. I asked if you remembered me and you an- 



ROBERT KATER'S SUCCESS 399 

swered in a riddle. I knew you did not, for you never saw 
me before." 

"Did I never see you dance?" 

"Ah, there you are again! To see me dance — in a 
great audience — one of many? That does not count. 
You but pretended." 

He leaned forward, looking steadily in her eyes. "Did I 
but pretend when I said I never could forget you ? Ah, 
mademoiselle, you are too modest." 

She was maddened that she could not pique him to a 
more ardent manner, but gave no sign by so much as the 
quiver of an eyelid. She only turned her profile toward 
him indifferently. He noticed the piquant line of her lips 
and chin and throat, and the golden tones of her delicate 
skin. 

"Did I not also tell you the truth when you asked me ? 
And you rewarded me by calling me banal." 

"And I was right. You, who are so clever, could think 
of something better to say." She gave him a quick glance, 
and placed a quivering morsel of jelly between her lips. 
"But you are so very strange to me. Tell me, were you 
never in love ? " 

"That is a question I may not answer." He still smiled, 
but it was merely the continuation of the smile he had worn 
before she shot that last arrow. He still looked in her eyes, 
but she knew he was not seeing her. Then he rallied and 
laughed. "Come, question for question. Were you never 
in love — or out of love — let us say ? " 

"Oh! Me!" She lifted her shoulders delicately. 
"Me! I am in love now — at this moment. You do not 
treat me well. You have not danced with me once." 



4 oo THE EYE OF DREAD 

"No. You have been dancing always, and f ully occupied. 
How could I ? " 

"Ah, you have not learned. To dance with me — you 
must take me, not stand one side and wait." 

"Are you engaged for the next ?" 

"But, yes. It is no matter. I will dance it with you. 
He will be consoled." She laughed, showing her beautiful, 
even teeth. "I make you a confession. I said to him, 
*I will dance it with you unless the cold monsieur asks me 

— then I will dance with him, for it will do him good.' " 
Robert Kater rose and stood a moment looking through 

the palms. The silken folds of his toga fell gracefully 
around him, and he held his head high. Then he withdrew 
his eyes from the distance and turned them again on her, 

— the gold and white being at his feet, — and she seemed 
to him no longer human, but a phantom from which he 
must flee, if but he might do so courteously, for he knew 
her to be no phantom, and he could not be other than 
courteous. 

"Will you accept from me my laurel crown ?" He took 
the chaplet from his head and laid it at her feet. Then, lift- 
ing her hand to his lips, he kissed the tips of her pink fingers, 
bowing low before her. "I go to send you wine. Console 
your partner. It is better so, for I too am in love." He 
smiled upon her as he had smiled at first, and was gone, 
walking out through the crowd — the weird, fantastic, 
bizarre company, as if he were no part of them. One and 
another greeted him as he passed, but he did not seem to 
hear them. He called a waiter and ordered wine to be 
taken to Mademoiselle F6e, and quickly was gone. They 
saw him no more. 



ROBERT KATER'S SUCCESS 401 

It was nearly morning. A drizzling rain was falling, and 
the air was chill after the heat of the crowded ballroom. 
He drew it into his lungs in deep draughts, glad to be out 
in the freshness, and to feel the cool rain on his forehead. 
He threw off his encumbering toga and walked in his tunic, 
with bare throat and bare knees, and carried the toga over 
one bare arm, and swung the other bare arm free. He 
walked with head held high, for he was seeing visions, and 
hearing a far-distant call. Now at last he might choose his 
path. He had not failed, but with that call from afar — 
what should he do ? Should he answer it ? Was it only 
a call from out his own heart — a passing, futile call, luring 
him back ? 

Of one thing he was sure. There was the painting on 
which he had labored and staked his all now hanging in the 
Salon. He could see it, one of his visions realized, — David 
and Saul. The deep, rich shadows, the throne, the tiger 
skin, the sandaled feet of the remorseful king resting on 
the great fanged and leering head, the eyes of the king look- 
ing hungrily out from under his forbidding brows, the cruel 
lips pressed tightly together, and the lithe, thin hands grasp- 
ing the carved arms of the throne in fierce restraint, — all 
this in the deep shadows between the majestic carved col- 
umns, their bases concealed by the rich carpet covering the 
dais and their tops lost in the brooding darkness above — 
the lowering darkness of purple gloom that only served to 
reveal the sinister outlines of the somber, sorrowful, suffer- 
ing king, while he indulged the one pure passion left him 
— listening — gazing from the shadows out into the light, 
seeing nothing, only listening. 

And before him, standing in the one ray of light, clothed 



4 o2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

only in his tunic of white and his sandals, a human jewel 
of radiant color and slender strength, a godlike concep- 
tion of youth and grace, his harp before him, the lilies 
crushed under his feet that he had torn from the strings 
which his fingers touched caressingly, with sunlight in his 
crown of golden, curling hair and the light of the stars in 
his eyes — David, the strong, the simple, the trusting, the 
God-fearing youth, as Robert Kater saw him, looking back 
through the ages. 

Ah, now he could live. Now he could create — work : 
he had been recognized, and rewarded — Dust and ashes ! 
Dust and ashes ! The hope of his life realized, the goblet 
raised to his lips, and the draft — bitter. The call 
falling upon his heart — imperative — beseeching — what 
did it mean ? 

Slowly and heavily he mounted the stairs to his studio, 
and there fumbled about in the darkness and the confusion 
left by his admiring comrades until he found candles and 
made a light. He was cold, and his light clothing clung to 
him wet and chilling as grave clothes. He tore them off 
and got himself into things that were warm and dry, and 
wrapping himself in an old dressing gown of flannel, sat 
down to think. 

; He took the money his friend had brought him and 
counted it over. Good old Ben Howard ! Half of it must 
go to him, of course. And here were finished canvases 
quite as good as the ones that had sold. Ben might turn 
them to as good an account as the others, — yes, — here 
was enough to carry him through a year and leave him 
leisure to paint unhampered by the necessity of making 
pot boilers for a bare living. 



ROBERT KATER'S SUCCESS 403 

"Tell me, were you never in love ? " That soft, insinuat- 
ing voice haunted him against his will. In love ? What did 
she know of love — the divine passion ? Love ! Fame ! 
Neither were possible to him. He bowed his head upon the 
table, hiding his face, crushing the bank notes beneath his 
arms. Deep in his soul the eye of his own conscience re- 
garded him, — an outcast hiding under an assumed name, 
covering the scar above his temple with a falling lock 
of hair seldom lifted, and deep in his soul a memory of a 
love. Oh, God ! Dust and ashes ! Dust and ashes ! 

He rose, and, taking his candle with him, opened a door 
leading from the studio up a short flight of steps to a little 
cupboard of a sleeping room. Here he cast himself on the 
bed and closed his eyes. He must sleep : but no, he could 
not. After a time of restless tossing he got up and drew an 
old portmanteau from the closet and threw the contents 
out on the bed. From among them he picked up the thing 
he sought and sat on the edge of his bed with it in his hands, 
turning it over and regarding it, tieing and untieing the 
worn, frayed, but still bright ribbons, which had once been 
the cherry-colored hair ribbons of little Betty Ballard. 

Suddenly he rose and lifted his head high, in his old, 
rather imperious way, put out his candle, and looked 
through the small, dusty panes of his window. It was day 
— early dawn. He was jaded and weary, but he would try 
no longer to sleep. He must act, and shake off sentimental- 
ism. Yes, he must act. He bathed and dressed with care, 
and then in haste, as if life depended on hurry, he packed 
the portmanteau and stepped briskly into the studio, 
looking all about, noting everything as if taking stock of 
it all, then sat down with pen and paper to write. 



4 o4 THE EYE OF DREAD 

The letter was a long one. It took time and thought. 
When he was nearly through with it, Ben Howard lagged 
wearily in. 

"Halloo! Why didn't you wait for me? What did 
you clear out for and leave me in the lurch ? Fresh as a 
daisy, you are, old chap, and I'm done for, dead." 

" You're not scientific in your pleasures." Robert Kater 
lifted his eyes and looked at his friend. "Are you alive 
enough to hear me and remember what I say ? Will you 
do something for me? Shall I tell you now or will you 
breakfast first ? " 

"Breakfast? Faugh!" He looked disgustedly around 
him. 

"I'm sorry. You drink too much. Listen, Ben. I'll 
tell you what I mean to do and what I wish you to do for 
me — and — you remember all you can of it, will you ? 
I must do it now, for you'll be asleep soon, and this will be 
the last I shall see of you — ever. I'm leaving in two hours 
— as soon as I've breakfasted." 

"What's that ? Hold on ! " Ben Howard sprang up, and 
darting behind a screen where they washed their brushes, 
he dashed cold water over his head and came back toweling 
himself. "I'm fit now. I did drink too much champagne, 
but I'll sleep it off. Now fire away, — what's up ? " 

"In two hours I'll be en route for the coast, and to-morrow 
I'll take passage for home on the first boat." Robert 
closed and sealed the long letter he had been writing and 
tossed it on the table. "I want this mailed one week from 
to-day. Put it in your pocket so you won't lose it among 
the rubbish here. One week from to-day it must be mailed. 
It's to my great aunt, Jean Craigmile, who gave me the 



ROBERT KATER'S SUCCESS 405 

money to set up here the first year. I've paid that up — 
last week — with my last sou — and with interest. By 
rights she should have whatever there is here of any value, 
for, if it were not for her help, there would not have been a 
thing here anyway, and IVe no one else to whom to leave 
it — so see that this letter is mailed without fail, will you ? " 

The Englishman stood, now thoroughly awake, gazing 
at him, unable to make common sense out of Robert's 
remarks. " B — b — but — what's up ? What are you 
leaving things to anybody for ? You're not on your death- 
bed." 

"I'm going home, don't you see ?" 

"But why don't you take the letter to her yourself — if 
you're going home ?" 

"Not there, man ; not to Scotland." 

"Your home's there." 

"I have allowed you to think so." Robert forced him- 
self to talk calmly. "In truth, I have no home, but the 
place I call home by courtesy is where I was brought up — in 
America." 

"You — you — d — d — don't — " 

"Yes — it's time you knew this. I've been leading a 
double life, and I'm done with it. I committed a crime, 
and I'm living under an assumed name. There is no such 
man as Robert Kater that I know of on earth, nor ever was. 
My name is — no matter — . I'm going back to the place 
where I killed my best friend — to give myself up — to 
imprisonment — I do not know to what — maybe death — 
but it will end my torture of mind. Now you know why 
I could not go to the Vernissage, to be treated — well, I 
could not go, that's all. Nor could I accept the honors 



4 o6 THE EYE OF DREAD 

given me under a name not my own. All the time I've 
lived in Paris I've been hiding — and this thing has been 
following me — although my occupation seems to have 
been the best cover I could have had — yet my soul has 
known no peace. Always — always — night and day — my 
own conscience has been watching and accusing me, an eye 
of dread steadily gazing down into my soul and seeing my sin 
deep, deep in my heart. I could not hide from it. And I 
would have given up before only that I wished to make 
good in something before I stepped down and out. I've 
done it." He put his hand heavily on Ben Howard's 
shoulder. " I've had a revelation this night. The lesson of 
my life is learned at last. It is, that there is but one road 
to freedom and life for me — and that road leads to a prison. 
It leads to a prison, — maybe worse, — but it leads me to 
freedom — from the thing that haunts me, that watches 
me and drives me. I may write you from that place which 
I will call home — Were you ever in love ?" 

The abruptness of the question set Ben Howard stam- 
mering again. He seized Robert's hand in both his own 
and held to it. "I — I — I — old chap — I — n — n — 
no — were you?" 

"Yes ; I've heard the call of her voice in my heart — and 
I'm gone. Now, Ben, stop your — well, I'll not preach to 
you, you of all men, — but — do something worth while. 
I've need of part of the money you got for me — to get back 
on — and pay a bill or two — and the rest I leave to you 
— there where you put it you'll find it. Will you live here 
and take care of these things for me until my good aunt, 
Jean Craigmile, writes you ? She'll tell you what to do 
with them — and more than likely she'll take you under 



ROBERT KATER'S SUCCESS 



407 



her wing — anyway, work, man, work. The place is yours 
for the present — perhaps for a good while, and you'll 
have a chance to make good. If I could live on that money 
for a year, as you yourself said, you can live on half of it 
for half a year, and in that time you can get ahead. Work." 
He seized his portmanteau and was gone before Ben 
Howard could gather his scattered senses or make reply. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

THE PRISONER 

Harry King did not at once consult an attorney, for 
Milton Hibbard, the only one he knew or cared to call upon 
for his defense, was an old friend of the Elder's and had 
been retained by him to assist the district attorney at the 
trial. The other two lawyers in Leauvite, one of whom 
was the district attorney himself, were strangers to him. 
Twice he sent messages to the Elder after his return, beg- 
ging him to come to him, never dreaming that they could 
be unheeded, but to the second only was any reply sent, 
and then it was but a cursory line. "Legal steps will be 
taken to secure justice for you, whoever you are. ,, 

To his friends he sent no messages. Their sympathy 
could only mean sorrow for them if they believed in him, 
and hurt to his own soul if they distrusted him, and he 
suffered enough. So he lay there in the clean, bare cell, 
and was glad that it was clean and held no traces of former 
occupants. The walls smelled of lime in their freshly 
plastered surfaces, and the floor had the pleasant odor of 
new pine. 

His life passed in review before him from boyhood up. 
It had been a happy life until the tragedy brought into it 
by his own anger and violence, but since that time it had 
been one long nightmare of remorse, heightened by fear, 
until he had met Amalia, and after that it had been one 

408 



THE PRISONER 409 

unremitting strife between love and duty — delight in her 
mind, in her touch, in her every movement, and in his 
own soul despair unfathomable. Now at last it was to 
end in public exposure, imprisonment, disgrace. A pe- 
culiar apathy of peace seemed to envelop him. There was 
no longer hope to entice, no further struggle to be waged 
against the terror of fear, or the joy of love, or the horror of 
remorse; all seemed gone from him, even to the vague 
interest in things transpiring in the world. 

He had only a puzzled feeling concerning his arrest. 
Things had not proceeded as he had planned. If the Elder 
would but come to him, all would be right. He tried to 
analyze his feelings, and the thought that possessed him 
most was wonder at the strange vacuity of the condition 
of emotionlessness. Was it that he had so suffered that 
he was no longer capable of feeling? What was feeling? 
What was emotion: and life without either emotion, or 
feeling, or caring to feel, — what would it be ? 

Valueless. — Empty space. Nothing left but bodily 
hunger, bodily thirst, bodily weariness. A lifetime, 
for his years were not yet half spent, — a lifetime at Wau- 
pun, and work for the body, but vacuity for the mind 
— maybe — sometimes — memories. Even thinking thus 
he seemed to have lost the power to feel sadness. 

Confusion reigned within him, and yet he found himself 
powerless to correlate his thoughts or suggest reasons for 
the strange happenings of the last few days. It seemed 
to him that he was in a dream wherein reason played no 
part. In the indictment he was arraigned for the murder 
of Peter Craigmile, Jr., — as Richard Kildene, — and 
yet he had seen his cousin lying dead before him, during 



4 io THE EYE OF DREAD 

all the years that had passed since he had fled from that 
sight. In battle he had seen men clubbed with the butt 
end of a musket fall dead with wounded temples, even as 
he had seen his cousin — stark — inert — lifeless. He had 
felt the strange, insane rage to kill that he had seen in 
others and marveled at. And now, after he had felt and 
done it, he was arrested as the man he had slain. 

All the morning he paced his cell and tried to force 
his thoughts to work out the solution, but none presented 
itself. Was he the victim of some strange form of in- 
sanity that caused him to lose his identity and believe 
himself another man? Drunken men he had seen under 
the delusion that all the rest of the world were drunken and 
they alone sober. Oh, madness, madness ! At least he 
was sane and knew himself, and this was a confusion 
brought about by those who had undertaken his arrest. 
He would wait for the Elder to come, and in the meantime 
live in his memories, thinking of Amalia, and so awaken 
in himself one living emotion, sacred' and truly sane. 
In the sweetness of such thinking alone he seemed to 
live. 

He drew the little ivory crucifix from his bosom and 
looked at it. "The Christ who bore our sins and griefs" — 
and again Amalia's words came to him. "If they keep I 
you forever in the prison, still forever are you free." In \ 
snatches her words repeated themselves over in his mind 
as he gazed. "If you have the Christ in your heart — so 
are you high — lifted above the sin." "If I see you no_ 
more here, in Paradise yet will I see you, and there it will 
be joy — great — joy ; for it is the love that is all of life, 
and all of eternity, and lives — lives." 



THE PRISONER 411 

Bertrand Ballard and his wife and daughter stood in 
the small room opening off from the corridor that led to the 
rear of the courthouse where was the jail, waiting for the 
jailer to bring his keys from his office, and, waiting thus, 
Betty turned her eyes beseechingly on her father, and for 
the first time since her talk with her mother in the studio, 
opened her lips to speak to him. She was very pale, but 
she did not tremble, and her voice had the quality of de- 
termination. Bertrand had yielded the point and had 
taken her to the jail against his own judgment, taking Mary 
with him to forestall the chance of Betty's seeing the young 
man alone. "Surely," he thought, "she will not ask to 
have her mother excluded from the interview." 

"I don't want any one — not even you — or — or — 
mother, to go in with me." 

"My child, be wise — and be guided." 

"Yes, father, — but I want to go in alone." She slipped 
her hand in her mother's, but still looked in her father's 
eyes. "I must go in alpne, father. You don't understand 
— but mother does." 

"This young man may be an impostor. It is almost 
unmaidenly for you to wish to go in there alone. Mary — " 

But Mary hesitated and trusted to her daughter's in- 
tuition. "Betty, explain yourself," was all she said. 

"Suppose it was father — or you thought it might be 
father — and a terrible thing were hanging over him and 
you had not seen him for all this time — and he were in 
there, and I were you — wouldn't you ask to see him first 
alone ? Would you stop for one moment to think about 
being proper. What do I care ! If he is an impostor, 
I shall know it. In one moment I shall know it. I — I 



4 i2 THE EYE OF DREAD 

— just want to see him alone. It is because he has suffered 
so long — that is why he has come like this — if — they 
aren't accusing him wrongfully, and I — he will tell me the 
truth. If he is Richard, I would know it if I came in and 
stood beside him blindfolded. I will call you in a moment* 
Stand by the door, and let me see him alone." 

The jailer returned, alert and important, shaking the keys 
in his hand. "This way, please." 

In the moment's pause of unlocking, Betty again turned 
upon her father, her eyes glowing in the dim light of the 
corridor with wide, sorrowful gaze, large and irresistibly 
earnest. Bertrand glanced from her to his wife, who 
slightly nodded her head. Then he said to the surprised 
jailer: "We will wait here. My daughter may be able to 
recognize him. Call us quickly, dear, if you have reason 
to change your mind." The heavy door was closed behind 
her, and the key turned in the lock. 

Harry King loomed large and tall in the small room, 
standing with his back to the door and his face lifted to 
the small window, where he could see a patch of the blue 
sky and white, scudding clouds. For the moment his spirit 
was not in that cell. It was free and on top of a mountain, 
looking into the clear eyes of a woman who loved him. He 
was so rapt in his vision that he did not hear the grating of 
the key in the lock, and Betty stood abashed, with her back 
to the door, feeling that she was gazing on a stranger. Re- 
lieved against the square of light, his hair looked darker 
than she remembered Peter's ever to have been, — as dark 
as Richard's, but that rough, neglected beard, — also dark, 

— and the tanned skin, did not bring either young man to 
her mind. 



THE PRISONER 413 

The pause was but for a moment, when he became aware 
that he was not alone and turned and saw her there. 

"Betty ! oh, Betty ! You have come to help me." He 
walked toward her slowly, hardly believing his eyes, and 
held out both hands. 

"If — I — can. Who are you?" She took his hands 
in hers and walked around him, turning his face to the 
light. Her breath came and went quickly, and a round red 
spot now burned on one of her cheeks, and her face seemed 
to be only two great, pathetic eyes. 

"Do I need to tell you, Betty? Once we thought we 
loved each other. Did we, Betty ?" 

"I don't — don't — know — Peter ! Oh, Peter! Oh, 
you are alive ! Peter ! Richard didn't kill you ! " She 
did not cry out, but spoke the words with a low intensity 
that thrilled him, and then she threw her arms about his 
neck and burst into tears. "He didn't do it! You are 
alive ! Peter, he didn't kill you ! I knew he didn't do it. 
They all thought he did, and — and — your father — he 
has almost broken his bank just — just — hunting for 
Richard — to — to — have him hung — and oh ! Peter, 
I have lived in horror, — for — fear he w — w — w — 
would, and — " 

"He never could, Betty. I have come home to atone. 
I have come home to give myself up. I killed Richard — 
my cousin — my best friend. I struck him in hate and 
saw him lying dead : all the time they were hunting him 
it was I they should have hunted. I can't understand it. 
Did they take his dead body for mine — or — how was it 
they did not know he was struck down and murdered? 
They must have taken his body for mine — or — he must 



4 i4 THE EYE OF DREAD 

have fallen over — but he didn't, for I saw him lying dead 
as I had struck him. All these years the eye of vengeance 
has been upon me, and my crime has haunted me. I have 
seen him lying so — dead. God ! God ! " 

Betty still clung to him and sobbed incoherently. "No, 
no, Peter, it was you who were drowned — they found all 
your things and saw where you had been pushed over, and 
— but you weren't drowned! They only thought it — 
they believed it — " 

He put his hand to his head as if to brush away the con- 
fusion which staggered him. "Yes, Richard lay dead — 
and they found him, — but why did they hunt for him ? 
And I — I — living — why didn't they hunt me, — and 
he, dead and lying there — why did they hunt him ? But 
my father would believe the worst of him rather than to see 
himself disgraced in his son. Don't cry, little Betty, don't 
cry. You've had too much to bear. Sit here beside me 
and I'll tell you all about it. That's why I came back." 

"B — b — ut if you weren't drowned, why — why didn't 
you come home and say so ? Didn't you ever see the papers 
and how they were hunting Richard all over the world? 
I knew you were dead, because I knew you never would be 
so cruel as to leave every one in doubt and your father in 
sorrow — just because he had quarreled with you. It 
might have killed your mother — if the Elder had let her 
know." 

"I can't tell you all my reasons, Betty ; mostly they were 
coward's reasons. I did my best to leave evidence that 
I had been pushed over the bluff, because it seemed the 
only way to hide myself. I did my best to make them think 
me dead, and never thought any one could be harmed by 



THE PRISONER 415 

it, because I knew him to be dead ; so I just thought we 
would both be dead so far as the world would know, — 
and as for you, dear, — I learned on that fatal night that 
you did not love me — and that was another coward's 
reason why I wished to be dead to you all." He began 
pacing the room, and Betty sat on the edge of the narrow 
jail bedstead and watched him with tearful eyes. "It was 
true, Betty ? You did not really love me?" 

"Peter! Didn't you ever see the papers? Didn't 
you ever know all about the search for you and how he dis- 
appeared, too ? Oh, Peter ! And it was supposed he killed 
you and pushed you over the bluff and then ran away. Oh, 
Peter ! But it was kept out of the home paper by the 
Elder so your mother should not know — and Peter — 
didn't you know Richard lived ?" 

"Lived ? lived ?" He lifted his clasped hands above his 
head, and they trembled. "Lived ? Betty, say it again ! " 

"Yes, Peter. I saw him and I know — " 

"Oh, God, make me know it. Make me understand. 
He fell on his knees beside her and hid his face in the scant 
jail bedding, and his frame shook with dry sobs. "I was 
a coward. I told you that. I — I thought myself a 
murderer, and all this time my terrible thought has driven 
me — Lived ? I never killed him ? God ! Betty, say it 
again." 

Betty sat still for a moment, shaken at first with a feeling 
of resentment that he had made them all suffer so, and 
Richard most of all. Then she was overwhelmed with 
pity for him, and with a glad tenderness. It was all over. 
The sorrow had been real, but it had all been needless. She 
placed her hand on his head, then knelt beside him and put 



4 i6 THE EYE OF DREAD 

her arm about his neck and drew his head to her bosom, 
motherwise, for the deep mother heart in her was awakened, 
and thus she told him all the story, and how Richard had 
come to her, broken and repentant, and what had been said 
between them. When they rose from their knees, it was 
as if they had been praying and at the same time giving 
thanks. 

"And you thought they would find him lying there dead 
and know you had killed him and hunt you down for a 
murderer ?" 

"Yes." 

"Poor Peter! So you pushed that great stone out of 
the edge of the bluff into the river to make them think you 
had fallen over and drowned — and threw your things down, 
too, to make it seem as if you both were dead." 

"Yes." 

"Oh, Peter ! What a terrible mistake ! How you must 
have suffered !" 

"Yes, as cowards suffer." 

They stood for a moment with clasped hands, looking 
into each other's eyes. "Then it was true what Richard 
told me ? You did not love me, Betty ?" He had grown 
calmer, and he spoke very tenderly. "We must have all 
the truth now and conceal nothing." 

" Not quite — true. I — I — thought I did. You were 
so handsome ! I was only a child then — and I thought I 
loved you — or that I ought to — for any girl would — I 
was so romantic in those days — and you had been wounded 
— and it was like a romance — " 

"And then?" 

"And then Richard came, and I knew in one instant that 



THE PRISONER 417 

I had done wrong — and that I loved him — and oh, I 
felt myself so wicked." 

"No, Betty, dear. It was all — " 

"It was not fair to you. I would have been true to you, 
Peter ; you would have never known — but after Richard 
came and told me he had killed you, — I felt as if I had 
killed you, too. I did like you, Peter. I did ! I will do 
whatever is right." 

"Then it was not in vain — that we have all suffered. 
We have been saved from doing each other wrong. Every- 
thing will come right now. All that is needed is for father 
to hear what you have told me, and he will come and take 
me out of here — Where is Richard ?" 

"No one knows." 

"Not even you, Betty?" 

"No ; he has dropped out of the world as completely as 
you did." 

"Well, it will be all right, anyway. Father will with- 
draw his charge and — did you say his bank was going to 
pieces ? He must have help. I can help him. You can 
help him, Betty." 

"How?" 

Then Peter told Betty how he had found Richard's 
father in his mountain retreat and that she must write to him. 
"If there is any danger of the bank's going, write for me to 
Larry Kildene. Father never would appeal to him if he 
lost everything in the world, so we must do it. As soon as 
I am out of here we can save him." Already he felt himself 
a new man, and spoke hopefully and cheerfully. He little 
knew the struggle still before him. 

"Peter, father and mother are out there in the corridor 



4 i8 THE EYE OF DREAD 

waiting. I was to call them. I made them let me come in 
alone." 

"Oh, call them, call them !" 

"I don't think they will know you as I did, with that 
great beard on your face. We'll see." 

When Bertrand and Mary entered, they stood for a 
moment aghast, seeing little likeness to either of the young 
men in the developed and bronzed specimen of manhood 
before them. But they greeted him warmly, eager to find 
him Peter, and in their manner he missed nothing of their 
old-time kindliness. 

" You are greatly changed, Peter Junior. You look more 
like Richard Kildene than you ever did before in your life," 
said Mary. 

"Yes, but when we see Richard, we may find that a 
change has taken place in him also, and they will stand in 
their own shoes hereafter." 

"Since the burden has been lifted from my soul and I 
know that he lives, I could sing and shout aloud here in this 
cell. Imprisonment — even death — means nothing to me 
now. All will come right before we know it." 

"That is just the way Richard would act and speak. 
No wonder you have been taken for him !" said Bertrand. 

"Yes, he was always more buoyant than I. Maybe 
we have both changed, but I hope he has not. I loved my 
friend." 

As they walked home together Mary Ballard said, 
"Now, Peter ought to be released right away." 

"Certainly he will be as soon as the Elder realizes the 
truth." 

" How he has changed, though ! His face shows the mark 



THE PRISONER 419 

of sorrow. Those drooping, sensitive lines about his mouth 
— they were never there before, and they are the lines of 
suffering. They touched my heart. I wish Hester were 
at home. She ought to be written to. I'll do it as soon as 
I get home. ,, 

"Peter is handsomer than he was, in spite of the lines, 
and, as you say, he does look more like his cousin than he 
used to — because of them, I think. Richard always had 
a debonair way with him, but he had that little, sensitive 
droop to the lips — not so marked as Peter's is now — but 
you remember, Mary — like his mother's." 

"Oh, mother, don't you think Richard could be found ?" 
Betty's voice trailed sorrowfully over the words. She was 
thinking how he had suffered all this time, and wishing her 
heart could reach out to him and call him back to her." 

"He must be, dear, if he lives." 

"Oh, yes. He'll be found. It can be published that 
Peter Junior has returned, and that will bring him after a 
while. Peter's physique seems to have changed as well as 
his face. Did you notice that backward swing of the 
shoulders, so like his cousin's, when he said, 'I could sing 
and shout here in this cell ' ? And the way he lifted his 
head and smiled ? That beard is a horrible disguise. I 
must send a barber to him. He must be himself again." 

"Oh, yes, do. He stands so straight and steps so easily. 
His lameness seems to have quite gone," said Mary, joy- 
ously, — but at that, Bertrand paused in his walk and looked 
at her, then glancing at Betty walking slowly on before, he 
laid his finger to his lips and took his wife's arm, and they 
said no more until they reached home and Betty was in her 
room. 



4 20 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"I simply can't think it, Bertrand. I see Peter in him. 
It is Peter. Of course he's like Richard. They were always 
alike, and that makes him all the more Peter. No other 
man would have that likeness, and it goes to show that he is 
Peter." 

"My dear, unless the Elder sees him as we see him, the 
thing will have to be tried out in the courts." 

"Unless we can find Richard. Hester ought to be here. 
She could set them right in a moment. Trust a mother to 
know her own boy. I'll write her immediately. I'll — " 

"But you have no authority, Mary." 

"No authority ? She is my friend. I have a right to do 
my duty by her, and I can so put it that it will not be such 
a shock to her as it inevitably will be if matters go wrong, 
or Peter should be kept in prison for lack of evidence — 
or for too much evidence. She'll have to know sooner or 
later." 

Bertrand said no more against this, for was not Mary 
often quite right ? "I'll see to it that he has a barber, and 
try to persuade the Elder to see him. That may settle it 
without any trouble. If not, I must see that he has a good 
lawyer to help in his defense." 

"If that savage old man remains stubborn, Hester must 
be here." 

" If the thing goes to a trial, Betty will have to appear 
against him." 

"Well, it mustn't go to a trial, that's all." 

That night two letters went out from Leauvite, one to 
Hester Craigmile at Aberdeen, Scotland, and one to the 
other end of the earth, where Larry Kildene waited for 
news of Harry King, there on the mountain top. On the 



THE PRISONER 421 

first of each month Larry rode down to the nearest point 
where letters could be sent, making a three days' trip on 
horseback. His first trip brought nothing, because Harry 
had not sent his first letter in time to reach the station 
before Larry was well on his way back up the mountain. 
He would not delay his return, for fear of leaving the two 
women too long alone. 

After Harry's departure, Madam Manovska had grown 
restless, and once had wandered so far away as to cause 
them great alarm and a long search, when she was found, 
sitting close to the fall, apparently too weak and too dazed 
to move. This had so awakened Amalia's fears that she 
never allowed her mother to leave the cabin alone, but 
always on one pretext or another accompanied her. 

The situation was a difficult one for them all. If Amalia 
took her mother away to some town, as she wished to do, 
she feared for Madam Manovska's sanity when she could 
not find her husband. And still, when she tried to tell 
her mother of her father's death, she could not convince her 
of its truth. For a while she would seem to understand 
and believe it, but after a night's rest she would go back to 
the old weary repetition of going to her husband and his 
need of her. Then it was all to go over again, day after 
day, until at last Amalia gave up, and allowed her mother 
the comfort of her belief: but all the more she had to 
invent pretexts for keeping her on the mountain. So she 
accepted Larry's kindly advice and his earnestly offered 
hospitality and his comforting companionship, and re- 
mained, as, perforce, there was nothing else for her to do. 



CHAPTER XXXIH 

HESTER CRAIGMILE RECEIVES HER LETTER 

The letters reached their opposite destinations at about 
the same time. The one to Amalia closely buttoned in 
Larry's pocket, and the short one to himself which he read 
and reread as his horse slowly climbed the trail, were half- 
way up the mountain when the postboy delivered Hester 
Craigmile's at the door of the sedate brick house belonging 
to the Craigmiles of Aberdeen. 

Peter Junior's mother and two elderly women — his 
grandaunts — were seated in the dignified parlor, taking 
afternoon tea, when the housemaid brought Hester her 
letter. 

"Is it from Peter, maybe?" asked the elder of the two 
aunts. 

"No, Aunt Ellen ; I think it is from a friend." 

"It's strange now, that Peter's no written before this," 
said the younger, leaning forward eagerly. "Will ye read 
it, dear ? We'll be wantin' to know if there's ae word about 
him intil't." 

"There may be, Aunt Jean." Hester set her cup of 
tea down untasted, and began to open her letter. 

"But tak' yer tea first, Hester. Jean's an impatient 
body. That's too bad of ye, Jean ; her toast's gettin' cold." 

"Oh, that's no matter at all, Aunt Ellen. I'll take it as 

422 



HESTER RECEIVES HER LETTER 423 

soon as I see if he's home all right. Yes, my friend says 
my husband has been home for three days and is well." 

"That's good. Noo ye're satisfied, lay it by and tak* 
yer tea." And Hester smilingly laid it by and took her 
tea, for Mary Ballard had said nothing on the first page 
to startle her friend's serenity. 

Jean Craigmile, however, still looked eagerly at the letter 
as it lay on a chair at Hester's side. She was a sweet-faced 
old lady, alert, and as young as Peter Junior's father, for 
all she was his aunt, and now she apologized for her eager- 
ness by saying, as she often did : " Ye mind he's mair like 
my blither than my nephew, for we all used to play to- 
gether — Peter, Katherine, and me. We were aye friends. 
She was like a sister, and he like a brither. Ah, weel, we're 
auld noo." 

Her sister looked at her fondly. " Ye're no so auld, Jean, 
but ye might be aulder. It's like I might have been the 
mither of her, for I mind the time when she was laid in my 
arms and my feyther tell't me I was to aye care for her like 
my ain, an' but for her I would na' be livin' noo." 

"And why for no ?" asked Jean, quickly. 

"I had ye to care for, child. Do ye no' understand ?" 

Jean laughed merrily. "She's been callin 1 me child for 
saxty-five years," she said. 

Both the old ladies wore lace caps, but that of Jean's 
was a little braver with ribbons than Ellen's. Small laven- 
der bows were set in the frill all about her face, and the 
long ends of the ribbon were not tied, but fell down on the 
soft white mull handkerchief that crossed over her bosom. 

"I mind when Peter married ye, Hester," said Ellen. 
"I was fair wild to have him bring ye here on his weddin' 



424 THE EYE OF DREAD 

journey, and he should have done so, for we'd not seen him 
since he was a lad, and all these years I've been waitin' to 
see ye." 

"Weel, 'twas good of him to leave ye bide with us a bit, 
an' go home without ye," said Jean. 
. " It was good of him, but I ought not to have allowed it." 
Hester's eyes glistened and her face grew tender and soft. 
To the world, the Elder might seem harsh, stubborn, and 
vindictive, but Hester knew the tenderness in which none 
but she believed. Ever since the disappearance of their 
son, he had been gentle and most lovingly watchful of her, 
and his domination had risen from the old critical restraint 
on her thoughts and actions to a solicitous care for her com- 
fort, — studying her slightest wishes with almost appealing 
thoughtfulness to gratify them. 

"And why for no allow it? There's naething so good 
for a man as lettin' him be kind to ye, even if he is an Elder 
in the kirk. I'm thinkin' Peter's ain o' them that such as 
that is good for — Hester ! What ails ye ! Are oot of 
ye're mind ? Gi'e her a drap of whuskey, Jean. Hester ! " 

While they were chatting and sipping their tea, Hester 
had quietly resumed the reading of her letter, and now she 
sat staring straight before her, the pages crushed in her 
hand, leaning forward, pale, with her eyes fixed on space 
as if they looked on some awful sight. 

" Hester ! Hester ! What is it? Is there a bit o' bad 
news for ye' in the letter ? Here, tak' a sip o' this, dear. 
Tak' it, Hester ; 'twill hairten ye up for whatever's intil't," 
cried Jean, holding to Hester's lips the ever ready 
Scotch remedy, which she had snatched from a wall cup- 
board behind her and poured out in a glass. 




Mi i 'i J -■■ ' " ■ =■*** 



HESTER RECEIVES HER LETTER 425 

Ellen, who was lame and could not rise from her chair 
without help, did not cease her directions and ejaculations, 
lapsing into the broader Scotch of her girlhood under ex- 
citement, as was the way with both the women. "Tell 
us what ails ye, dear ; maybe it's no so bad. Gie me the 
letter, Jean, an' I'll see what's intil't. Ring the bell for 
Tillie an' we'll get her to the couch." 

But Hester caught Jean's gown and would not let her 
go to the bell cord which hung in the far corner of the room. 
"No, don't call her. I'll lie down a moment, and — and 
— we'll talk — this — over." She clung to the letter and 
would not let it out of her hand, but rose and walked wearily 
to the couch unassisted and lay down, closing her eyes. 
"After a minute, Aunt Ellen, I'll tell you. I must think, 
I must think." So she lay quietly, gathering all her force 
to consider and meet what she must, as her way was, while 
Jean sat beside, stroking her hand and saying sweet, com- 
forting words in her broad Scotch. 

"There's neathin' so guid as a drap of whuskey, dear, for 
strengthnin' the hairt whan ye hae a bit shock. It's no 
yer mon, Peter? No? Weel, thank the Lord for that. 
Noo, tak ye anither bit sup, for ye ha'e na tasted it. Wull 
ye no gie Ellen the letter, love ? 'Twill save ye tellin' her." 

Hester passively took the whisky as she was bid, and 
presently sat up and finished reading the letter. "Peter 
has been hiding — something from me for — three years 
— and now — " 

"Yes, an' noo. It's aye the way wi' them that hides — 
whan the day comes they maim reveal — it's only the mair 
to their shame," exclaimed Ellen. 

"Oh, but it's all mixed up — and my best friend doesn't 



426 THE EYE OF DREAD 

know the truth. Yes, take the letter, Aunt Ellen, and read 
it yourself." She held out the pages with a shaking hand, 
and Jean took them over to her sister, who slowly read them 
in silence. 

" Ah, noo. As I telTt ye, it's no so bad," she said at last. 

" Wha's the trouble, Ellen ? Don't keep us waitin'." 

"Bide ye in patience, child. Ye're always so easily 
excitet. I maun read the letter again to get the gist o't, 
but it's like this. The Elder's been of the opeenion noo 
these three years that his son was most foully murder't, 
an—" 

"He may ha'e been kill't, but he was no' murder't," 
cried Jean, excitedly. "I tell ye 'twas purely by accident 
— " she paused and suddenly clapped both hands over her 
mouth and rocked herself back and forth as if she had made 
some egregious blunder, then: "Gang on wi' yer tellin\ 
It's dour to bide waitin'. Gie me the letter an' lat me read 
it for mysel'." 

"Lat me tell't as I maim tell't. Ye maun no keep in- 
terruptin'. Jean has no order in her brain. She aye pits 
the last first an' the first last. This is a hopefu' letter 
an' a guid ain from yer friend, an' it tells ye yer son's 
leevin' an' no murder't — " 

"Thank the Lord ! I ha'e aye said it," ejaculated Jean, 
fervently. 

"Ye ha'e aye said it? Child, what mean ye ? Ye ha'e 
kenned naethin' aboot it." 

But Jean would not be set down. She leaned forward 
with glistening eyes. "I ha'e aye said it. I ha'e aye said 
it. Gie me the letter, Ellen." 

But Ellen only turned composedly and resumed her in- 



HESTER RECEIVES HER LETTER 427 

terpretation of the letter to Hester, who sat looking with 
dazed expression from one aunt to the other. 

" It all comes about from Peter's bein' a stubborn man, 
an' he'll no change the opeenion he's held for three years 
wi'oot a struggle. Here comes his boy back an' says, ' I'm 
Peter Junior, and yer son.' An' his feyther says till him, 
'Ye're no my son, for my son was murder't — an' ye're 
Richard Kildene wha' murder't him.' And noo, it's for 
ye to go home, Hester, an' bring Peter to his senses, and 
show him the truth. A mither knows her ain boy, an' if 
it's Peter Junior, it's Peter Junior, and Richard Kildene's 
died." 

" I tell ye he's no dead ! " cried Jean, springing to her feet. 

"Hush, child. He maim be dead, for ain of them's dead, 
and this is Peter Junior." 

"Read it again, Aunt Ellen," said Hester, wearily. 
"You'll see that the Elder brings a fearful charge against 
Richard. He thinks Richard is making a false claim that 
he is — Peter — my boy." 

Jean sat back in her chair crying silently and shrinking 

into herself as if she were afraid to say more, and Ellen went 

on. "Listen, now, what yer frien' says. 'The Elder is 

wrong, for Bertrand ' — that's her husband, I'm thinkin' 

— ?" 

"Yes." 

' ' ' Bertrand and Betty, — ' Who's Betty, noo ? " 

"Betty is their daughter. She was to — have — married 
my son." 

"Good. So she would know her lover. 'Betty and I 
have seen him,' she says, 'and have talked with him, and 
we know he is Peter Junior,' she says. 'Richard Kildene 



428 THE EYE OF DREAD 

has disappeared/ she says, 'and yet we know he is living 
somewhere and he must be found. We fear the Elder will 
not withdraw the charge until Richard is located' — An* 
that will be like Peter, too — 'and meanwhile your son 
Peter will have to lie in jail, where he is now, unless you can 
clear matters up here by coming home and identifying 
him, and that you can surely do.' — An* that's all vera weel. 
There's neathin' to go distraught over in the like o' that. 
An' here she says, 'He's a noble, fine-looking man, and 
you'll be proud of him when you see him.' Oh, 'tis a fine 
letter, an' it's Peter wi' his stubbornness has been makin' 
a boggle o' things. If I were na lame, I'd go back wi' ye 
an' gie Peter a piece o' my mind." 

"An' I'll locate Richard for ye !" cried Jean, rising to her 
feet and wiping away the fast-falling tears, laughing and 
weeping all in the same moment. "Whish't, Ellen, it's 
ye'rsel' that kens neathin' aboot it,, an' I'll tell ye the truth 
the noo — that I've kept to myseF this lang time till my 
conscience has nigh whupped me intil my grave." 

"Tak' a drap o' whuskey, Jean, ye're flyin' oot o* yer 
heid. It's the hystiricks she's takin'." 

" Ah, no ! What is it, Aunt Jean ? What is it ? " cried 
Hester, eagerly, drawing her to the seat by her side again. 

"It's no the hystiricks," cried Jean, rocking back and 
forth and patting her hands on her knees and speaking be- 
tween laughing and crying. " It's the truth at last, that I've 
been lyin' aboot these three lang years, thank the Lord !" 

"Jean, is it thankin' the Lord ye are, for lyin' ?" 

"Ellen, ye mind whan ye broke ye'r leg an' lay in the 
south chamber that lang sax months ?" 

"Aye, weel do I mind it." 



HESTER RECEIVES HER LETTER 429 

"Lat be wi' ye're interruptin' while I tdl't. He came 
here. ,, 

"Who came here?" 

"Richard — the poor lad! He tell't me all aboot it. 
How he had a mad anger on him, an* kill't his cousin Peter 
Junior whan they'd been like brithers all their lives, an* 
hoo he pushed him over the brink o' a gre't precipice to his 
death, an' hoo he must forever flee fra' the law an' his 
uncle's wrath. Noo it's — " 

"Oh, Aunt Jean!" cried Hester, despairingly. "Don't 
you see that what you say only goes to prove my husband 
right ? Yet how could he claim to be Peter — it — it's 
not like the boy. Richard never, never would — " 

"He may ha' been oot o' his heid thinkin' he pushed him 
over the brink. I ha'e na much opeenion o' the judgment 
o' a man ony way. They never know whan to be set, an' 
whan to gie in. Think shame to yersel', Jean, to be 
hidin' things fra me the like o' that an' then lyin' to me." 

"He was repentit, Ellen. Ye can na' tak the power o' 
the Lord in yer ain han's an' gie a man up to the law whan 
he's repentit. If ye'd seen him an' heard the words o' him 
and seen him greet, ye would ha' hid him in yer hairt an' 
covered wi' the mantle o' charity, as I did. Moreover, I 
saved ye from dour lyin' yersel'. Ye mind whan that man 
that Peter sent here to find Richard came, hoo ye said till 
him that Richard had never been here? Ye never knew 
why for that man wanted Richard, but I knew an' I never 
tell't ye. An' if ye had known what I knew, ye never could 
ha' tell't him what ye did so roundly an' sent him aboot his 
business wi' a straight face." 

"An' noo whaur is Richard ?" 






430 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"He's awa' in Paris pentin' pictures. He went there to 
learn to be a penter." 

"An' whaur gat he the money to go wi' ? There's whaur 
the new black silk dress went ye should ha* bought yersel' 
that year. Ye lat me think it went to the doctor. Child ! 
Child !" 

" Yes, sister ; I lee'd to ye. It's been a heavy sin on my 
soul an' ye may well thank the Lord it's no been on yer 
ain. But hark ye noo. It's all come back to me. Here's 
the twenty pirn' I gave him. It's come back wi' interest. " 
Proudly Jean drew from her bosom an envelope containing 
forty pounds in bank notes. "Look ye, hoo he's doubl't 
it ? " Again she laughed through her tears. 

And you know where he is — and can find him ? " 
Yes, Hester, dear, I know. He took a new name. It 
was Robert Kater he called himsel'. So, there he's been 
pentin' pictures. Go, Hester, an' find yer son, an' I'll 
find Richard. Ellen, ye'll have to do wi' Tillie for a week 
an' a bit, — I'm going to Paris to find Richard." 

" Ye'll do nae sic' thing. Ye'll find him by post." 

"I'll trust to nae letter the noo, Ellen. Letters aften 
gang astray, but I'll no gang astray." 

"Oh, child, child ! It's a sorrowful thing I'm lame an' 
can na' gang wi' ye. What are ye doin', Hester ? " 

"I'm hunting for the newspaper. Don't they put the 
railroad time-tables in the paper over here, or must I go 
to the station to inquire about trains ?" 

"Ye'd better ask at the station. I'll go wi' ye. Ye 
might boggle it by yerseP. Ring for Tillie, Jean. She 
can help me oot o' my chair an' get me dressed, while ye're 
lookin' after yer ain packin', Jean." 



HESTER RECEIVES HER LETTER 431 

So the masterful old lady immediately began to superin- 
tend the hasty departure of both Hester and Jean. The 
whole procedure was unprecedented and wholly out of the 
normal course of things, but if duty called, they must go, 
whether she liked the thought of their going or not. So she 
sent Tillie to call a cab, and contented herself with bewailing 
the stubbornness of Peter, her nephew. 

"It was aye so, whan he was a lad playin' wi' Jean an* 
Katherine, whiles whan his feyther lat his mither bring 
Katherine and him back to Scotland on a veesit. Jean 
and Katherine maun gie in til him if they liket it or no. 
I've watched them mony's the time, when he would haud 
them up in their play by the hour together, arguyin' which 
should be horse an* which should be driver, an' it was 
always Peter that won his way wi' them. Is the cab there, 
Tillie ? Then gie me my crutch. Hester, are you ready ? 
Jean, I'll find oot for ye all aboot the trains for Dover. Ye 
maun gang direc' an' no loiter by the way. Come, Hester. 
I doot she ought not to be goin' aboot alone. Paris is an' 
awfu' like place for a woman body to be goin' aboot alone. 
But it canna' be helpit. What's an old woman like me wi* 
only one sound leg and a pair o' crutches, to go on sic' like 
a journey ?" 

."If I could, I'd take you home with me, Aunt Ellen ; if I 
were only sure of the outcome of this trouble, I would any- 
way — but to take you there to a home of sorrow — " 

"There, Hester, dear. Don't ye greet. It's my opeen- 
ion ye're goin' to find yer son an' tak him in yer arms 
ance mair. Ye were never the right wife for Peter. I can 
see that. Ye're too saft an' gentle." 

"I'm thinking how Peter has borne this trouble alone, 



432 THE EYE OF DREAD 

all these years, and suffered, trying to keep the sorrow from 



me. 



"Yes, dear, yes. Peter told us all aboot it whan he was 
here, an' he bade us not to lat ye ken a word aboot it, but to 
keep from ye all knowledge of it. Noo it's come to ye by 
way of this letter fra yer frien', an' I'm thinkin' it's the 
best way ; for noo, at last ye ha'e it in ye're power to go an' 
maybe save an innocent man, for it's no like a son of our 
Katherine would be sic' like a base coward as to try to win 
oot from justice by lyin' himsel' intil his victim's own 
home. I'll no think it." 
! "Nor I, Aunt Ellen. It's unbelievable ! And of Richard 

— no. I loved Richard. He was like my own son to me 

— and Peter Junior loved him, too. They may have 
quarreled — and even he might — in a moment of anger, 
he might have killed my boy, — but surely he would never 
do a thing like this. They are making some horrible mis- 
take, or Mary Ballard would never have written me." 

"Noo ye're talkin' sense. Keep up courage an' never 
tak an' affliction upo' yersel' until it's thrust upo' ye by 
Providence." 

Thus good Aunt Ellen in her neat black bonnet and shawl 
and black mits, seated at Hester's side in the cab holding 
to her crutches, comforted and admonished her niece all 
the way to the station and back, and the next day she 
bravely bade Jean and Hester both good-by and settled 
herself in her armchair to wait patiently for news from 
them. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

JEAN CRAIGMILE'S RETURN 

When at last Jean Craigmile returned, a glance at her 
face was quite enough to convince Ellen that things had not 
gone well. She held her peace, however, until her sister 
had had time to remove her bonnet and her shawl and dress 
herself for the house, before she broke in upon Jean's grim 
silence. Then she said : — 

" Weel, Jean. I'm thinkin' ye'd better oot wi' it." 

"Is Tillie no goin' to bring in the tea? It's past the 
hour. I see she grows slack, wantin' me to look after her." 

"Ring for it then, Jean. I'm no for leavin' my chair to 
ring for it." So Jean pulled the cord and the tea was 
brought in due time, with hot scones and the unwonted 
addition of a bowl of roses to grace the tray. 

"The posies are a greetin' to ye, Jean ; I ordered them 
mysel'. Weel ? An' so ye ha'na' found him ? " 

"Oh, sister, my hairt's heavy an' sair. I canna' thole to 
tell ye." 

"But ye maun do't, an' the sooner ye tell't the sooner 
ye'll ha'e it over." 

"He was na' there. Oh, Ellen, Ellen! He'd gone to 
America ! I'm afraid the Elder is right an' Hester has gone 
home to get her death blow. Why were we so precipitate 
in lettin' her go?" 

"Jean, tell me all aboot it, an' I'll pit my mind to it and 

433 



434 THE EYE OF DREAD 

help ye think it oot. Don't ye leave oot a thing fra' the 
time ye left me till the noo." 

Slowly Jean poured her sister's tea and handed it to her. 
"Tak' yer scones while they're hot, Ellen. I went to the 
place whaur he'd been leevin'. I had the direction all right, 
but whan I called, I found anither man in possession. 
The man was an Englishman, so I got on vera weel for the 
speakin'. It's little I could do with they Frenchmen. He 
was a dirty like man, an' he was daubin' away at a picture 
whan I opened the door an' walked in. I said to him, 
' Whaur 's Richard' — no, no, no. I said to him, calling 
Richard by the name he's been goin' by, I said, 'Whaur's 
Robert Kater?' He jumped up an' began figitin' aboot 
the room, settin' me a chair an' the like, an' I asked again, 
'Is this the pentin' room o' Robert Kater?' an' he said, 
'It was his room, yes.' Then he asked me was I any kin 
to him, an' I told him, did he think I would come walkin' 
into his place the like o' that if I was no kin to him ? An' 
then he began tellin' me a string o' talk an' I could na' 
mak' head nor tail o't, so I asked again, ' If ye're a friend 
o' his, wull ye tell me whaur he's gone ? ' an' then he said it 
straight oot, 'To Ameriky,' an' it fair broke my hairt." 

For a minute Jean sat and sipped her tea, and wiped the 
tears from her eyes; then she took up the thread of her 
story again. 

"Then he seemed all at once to bethink himsel' o' some- 
thing, an' he ran to hi! coat that was hangin' behind the 
door on a nail, an' he drew oot a letter fra the pocket, an' 
here it is. 

" 'Are ye Robert's Aunt Jean ? ' he asked, and I tell't him, 
an', 'Surely,' he said, 'an' I did na' think ye old enough to 



JEAN CRAIGMILE'S RETURN 435 

be his Aunt Jean.' Then he began to excuse himser for 
forgettin' to mail that letter. 'I promised him I would,' he 
said, 'but ye see, I have na' been wearin' my best coat 
since he left, an' that's why. We gave him a banket/ he 
says, 'an' I wore my best coat to the banket, an' he gave me 
this an' told me to mail it after he was well away/ an* he 
says, l I knew I ought not to put it in this coat pocket, for 
I'd forget it/ — an' so he ran on ; but it was no so good a 
coat, for the lining was a' torn an' it was gray wi' dust, for 
I took it an' brushed it an' mended it mysel' before I left 
Paris." 

Again Jean paused, and taking out her neatly folded hand- 
kerchief wiped away the falling tears, and sipped a moment 
at her tea in silence. 

"Tak' ye a bit o' the scones, Jean. Ye'll no help matters 
by goin' wi'oot eatinV If the lad's done a shamefu' like 
thing, ye'll no help him by greetin'. He maun fall. Ye've 
done yer best I doot, although mistakenly to try to keep 
it fra me." 

"He was sae bonny, Ellen, and that like his mither 
'twould melt the hairt oot o' ye to look on him." 

"Ha'e ye no mair to tell me? Surely it never took ye 
these ten days to find oot what ye ha'e tell't." 

"The man was a kind sort o' a body, an' he took me oot 
to eat wi' him at a cafy, an' he paid it himseF, but I'm 
thinkin' his purse was sair empty whan he got through wi* 
it. I could na' help- it. Men are vera masterfu' bodies. 
I made it up to him though, for I bided a day or twa at 
the hotel, an' went to the room, — the pentin' room whaur 
I found him — there was whaur he stayed, for he was keepin' 
things as they were, he said, for the one who was to come 



436 THE EYE OF DREAD 

into they things — Robert Kater had left there — ye'll find 
oot aboot them whan ye read the letter — an' I made it 
as clean as ye'r han' before I left him. He made a dour 
face whan he came in ap' found me at it, but I'm thinkin' 
he came to like it after a', for I heard him whustlin' to 
himseP as I went down the stair after tellin' him 
good-by. 

" Gin ye had seen the dirt I took oot o' that room, Ellen, 
ye would a* held up ye'r two han's in horror. There were 
crusts an' bones behind the pictures standin' against the 
wa' that the rats an* mice had been gnawin' there, an* 
there were bottles on a shelf, old an' empty an' covered 
wi' cobwebs an' dust, an' the floor was so thick wi' dirt it 
had to be scrapit, an* what wi' old papers an* rags I had a 
great basket full taken awa — let be a bundle o' shirts that 
needed mendin\ I took the shirts to the hotel, an 7 there I 
mended them until they were guid enough to wear, an' sent 
them back. So* there was as guid as the price o' the denner 
he gave me, an' naethin said. Noo read the letter an* 
ye'll see why I'm greetin'. Richard's gone to Ameriky 
to perjure his soul. He says it was to gie himsel' up to the 
law, but from the letter to Hester it's likely his courage 
failed him. There's naethin' to mak' o't but that — an* 
he sae bonny an' sweet, like his mither." 

Jean Craigmile threw her apron over her head and rocked 
herself back and forth, while Ellen set down her cup and 
reluctantly opened the letter — many pages, in a long busi- 
ness envelope. She sighed as she took them out. 

"It's a waefu' thing how much trouble an' sorrow a man 
body brings intil the world wi' him. Noo there's Richard, 
trailin' sorrow after him whaurever he goes." 



JEAN CRAIGMILE'S RETURN 437 

"But ye mind it came from Katherine first, marryin' wi' 
Larry Kildene an' rinnin' awa' wi' him," replied Jean. 

" It was Larry huntit her oot whaur she had been brought 
for safety." 

They both sat in silence while Ellen read the letter to 
the very end. At last, with a long, indrawn sigh, she 
spoke. 

"It's no like a lad that could write sic a letter, to perjure 
his soul. No won'er ye greet, Jean. He's gi'en ye every- 
thing he possesses, wi' one o' the twa pictures in the Salon ! 
Think o't ! An' a' he got fra' the ones he sold, except 
enough to take him to America. Ye canna' tak' it." 

"No. I ha'e gi'en them to the Englishman wha' has 
his room. I could na' tak them." Jean continued to sway 
back and forth with her apron over her head. 

"Ye ha'e gi'en them awa' ! All they pictures pented by 
yer ain niece's son ! An' twa' acceptit by the Salon ! 
Child, child ! I'd no think it o' ye." Ellen leaned for- 
ward in her chair reprovingly, with the letter crushed in her 
lap. 

"I told him to keep them safe, as he was doin', an' if he 
got no word fra' me after sax months, — he was to bide in 
the room wi' them — they were his." 

" Weel, ye're wiser than I thought ye." 

For a long time they sat in silence, until at last Ellen 
took up the letter to read it again, and began with the date 
at the head. 

"Jean," she cried, holding it out to her sister and point- 
ing to the date with shaking finger. " Wull ye look at that 
noo ! Are we both daft ? It's no possible for him to ha* 
gotten there before that letter was written to Hester. Look 



438 THE EYE OF DREAD 

ye, Jean ! Look ye ! Here 'tis the third day o' June it 
was written by his own hand." 

" Count it oot, Ellen, count it oot ! Here's the calendar 
almanac. Noo we'll ha'e it. It's twa weeks since Hester 
an' I left an' she got the letter the day before that, an* 
that's fifteen days — " 

" An' it takes twa weeks mair for a boat to cross the ocean, 
an' that gives fourteen days mair before that letter to Hester 
was written, an' three days fra' Liverpool here, pits it back 
to seventeen days, — an' fifteen days — mak's thirty-two 
days, — an' here' it's nearin' the last o' June — " 

"Jean ! Whan Hester's frien' was writin' that letter to 
Hester, Richard was just sailin' fra France ! Thank the 
Lord!" 

"Thank the Lord!" ejaculated her sister, fervently. 
"Ellen, it's you for havin' the head to think it oot, thank 
the Lord !" And now the dear spul wept again for very 
gladness. 

Ellen folded her hands in her lap complaisantly and 
nodded her head. "Ye've a good head, yersel', Jean, but 
ye aye let yersel' get excitet. Noo, it's only for us to bide 
in peace an' quiet an' know that the earth is the Lord's an* 
the fullness thereof until we hear fra' Hester." 

"An' may the Lord pit it in her hairt to write soon !" 

While the good Craigmiles of Aberdeen were composing 
themselves to the hopeful view that Ellen's discovery of the 
date had given them, Larry Kildene and Amalia were seated 
in a car, luxurious for that day, speeding eastward over 
the desert across which Amalia and her father and mother 
had fled in fear and privation so short a time before. She 
gazed through the plate-glass windows and watched the 



JEAN CRAIGMILE'S RETURN 439 

quivering heat waves rising from the burning sands. Well 
she knew those terrible plains ! She saw the bleaching 
bones of animals that had fallen by the way, even as their 
own had fallen, and her eyes Med. She remembered how 
Harry King had come to them one day, riding on his yellow 
horse — riding out of the setting sun toward them, and how 
his companionship had comforted them and his courage and 
help had saved them more than once, — and how, had it 
not been for him, their bones, too, might be lying there now, 
whitening in the heat. Oh, Harry, Harry King ! She who 
had once crossed those very plains behind a jaded team 
now felt that the rushing train was crawling like a snail. 

Larry Kildene, seated facing her and watching her, leaned 
forward and touched her hand. "We're going at an awful 
pace," he said. "To think of ever crossing these plains 
with the speed of the wind ! " 

She smiled a wan smile. "Yes, that is so. But it still 
is very slowly we go when I measure with my thoughts the 
swiftness. In my thoughts we should fly — fly I" 

"It will be only three days to Chicago from here, and then 
one night at a hotel to rest and clean up, and the next day 
we are there — in Leauvite — think of it ! We're an hour 
late by the schedule, so better think of something else. 
We'll reach an eating station soon. Get ready, for there 
will be a rush, and we'll not have a chance for a good meal 
again for no one knows how iong. Maybe you're not 
hungry, but I could eat a mule. I like this, do you know, 
traveling in comfort ! To think of me — going home to 
save Peter's bank!" He chuckled to himself a moment; 
then resumed : "And that's equivalent to saving the man's 
life. Well, it's a poor way for a man to go through life, 



44Q THE EYE OF DREAD 

able to see no way but his own way. It narrows his vision 
and shortens his reach — for, see, let him find his way closed 
to him, and whoop ! he's at an end." 

Again Larry sat and watched her, as he silently chuckled 
over his present situation. Again he reached out and 
patted her hand, and again she smiled at him, but he knew 
where her thoughts were. Harry King had been gone but 
a short time when Madam Manovska, in spite of Amalia *s 
watchfulness, wandered away for the last time. On this 
occasion she did not go toward the fall, but went along the 
trail toward the plains below. It was nearly evening when 
she eluded Amalia and left the cabin. Frantically they 
searched for her all night, riding through the darkness, 
carrying torches and calling in all directions, as far as they 
supposed her feet could have carried her, but did not find 
her until early morning, lying peacefully under a little 
scrub pine, far down the trail. By her side lay her hus- 
band's worn coat, with the lining torn away, and a small 
heap of ashes and charred papers. She had been destroy- 
ing the documents he had guarded so long. She would not 
leave them to witness against him. Tenderly they took 
her up and carried her back to the cabin and laid her in her 
bunk, but she only babbled of "Paul," telling happily that 
she had seen him, and that he was coming up the trail after 
her, and that now they would live on the mountain in 
peace and go no more to Poland — and quickly after that 
she dropped to sleep again and never woke. She was with 
"Paul" at last. Then Amalia dressed her in the black 
silk Larry had brought her, and they carried her down the 
trail and laid her in a grave beside that of her husband, and 
there Larry read the prayers of the English church over the 



JEAN CRAIGMILE'S RETURN 441 

two lonely graves, while Amalia knelt at his side. When 
they went down the trail to take the train, after receiving 
Betty's letter, they marked the place with a cross which 
Larry had made. 

Truth to tell, as they sat in the car, facing each other, 
Larry himself was sad, although he tried to keep Amalia 's 
thoughts cheerful. At last she woke to the thought that it 
was only for her he maintained that forced light-hearted- 
ness, and the realization came to her that he also had cause 
for sorrow on leaving the spot where he had so long lived in 
peace, to go to a friend in trouble. The thought helped her, 
and she began to converse with Larry instead of sitting 
silently, wrapped in her own griefs. Because her heart 
was with Harry King, — filled with anxiety for him, — she 
talked mostly of him, and that pleased Larry well ; for he, 
too, had need to speak of Harry. 

"Now there is a character for you, as fine and sweet as 
a woman and strong, too ! I've seen enough of men to 
know the best of them when I find them. I saw it in him 
the moment I got him up to my cabin and laid him in my 
bunk. He — he — minded me of one that's gone." His 
voice dropped to the undertone of reminiscence. "Of one 
that's long gone — long gone." 

"Could you tell me about it, a little — just a very little ?" 
Amalia leaned toward him pleadingly. It was the first 
time she had ever asked of Larry Kildene or Harry King a 
question that might seem like seeking to know a thing pur- 
posely kept from her. But her intuitive nature told her the 
time had now come when Larry longed to speak of himself, 
and the loneliness of his soul pleaded for him. 

"It's little indeed I can tell you, for it's little he ever told 



442 THE EYE OF DREAD 

me, — but it came to me — more than once — more than 
once — that he might be my own son." 

Amalia recoiled with a shock of surprise. She drew in 
her breath and looked in his eyes eloquently. "Oh ! Oh I 
And you never asked him ? No ? " 

"Not in so many words, no. But I — I — came near 
enough to give him the chance to tell the truth, if he 
would, but he had reasons of his own, and he would not." 

" Then — where we go now — to him — you have been 
to that place before ? Not ? " 

"I have." 

" And he — he knows it ? Not ? " 

"He knows it well. I told him it was there I left my son 
— my little son — but he would say nothing. I was not 
even sure he knew the place until these letters came to me. 
He has as yet written me no word, only the message he 
sent me in his letter to you — that he will some time write 
me." Then Larry took Betty's letter from his pocket and 
turned it over and over, sadly. "This letter tells me more 
than all else, but it sets me strangely adrift in my thoughts. 
It's not at all like what I had thought it might be." 

Amalia leaned forward eagerly. "Oh, tell me more — a 
little, what you thought might be." 

"This letter has added more to the heartache than all else 
that could be. Either Harry King is my son — Richard 
Kildene — or he is the son of the man who hated me and 
brought me sorrow. There you see the reason he would 
tell me nothing. He could not." 

"But how is it that you do not know your own son? 
It is so strange." 

Larry's eyes filled as he looked off over the arid plains 



JEAN CRAIGMILE'S RETURN 443 

"It's a long story — that. I told it to him once to try to 
stir his heart toward me, but it was of no use, and I'll not 
tell it now — but this. I'd never looked on my boy since 
I held him in my arms — a heartbroken man — until he 
came to me there — that is, if he were he. But if Harry 
King is my son, then he is all the more a liar and a coward 
— if the claim against him is true. I can't have it so." 

"It is not so. He is no liar and no coward." Amalia 
spoke with finality. 

"I tell you if he is not my son, then he is the son of the 
man who hated me — but even that man will not own him 
as his son. The little girl who wrote this letter to me — 
she pleads with me to come on and set them all right : 
but even she who loved him — who has loved him, can 
urge no proof beyond her own consciousness, as to his 
identity ; it is beyond my understanding." 

"The little girl — she — she has loved your son — she 
has loved Harry — Harry King ? Whom has she loved ?" 
Amalia only breathed the question. 

"She has not said. I only read between the lines." 

"How is it so — you read between lines? What is it 
you read?" 

Larry saw he was making a mistake and resumed hur- 
riedly : " I'll tell you what little I know later, and we will go 
there and find out the rest, but it may be more to my sorrow 
than my joy. Perhaps that's why I'm taking you there — 
to be a help to me — I don't know. I have a friend there 
who will take us both in, and who will understand as no one 
else." 

" I go to neither my joy nor my sorrow. They are of the 
world. I will be no more of the world — but I will live 



444 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



only in love — to the Christ. So may I find in my heart 
peace — as the sweet sisters who guarded me in my child- 
hood away from danger when that my father and mother 
were in fear and sorrow living — they told me there only 
may one find peace from sorrow. I will go to them — per- 
haps — perhaps — they will take me — again — I do not 
know. But I will go first with you, Sir Kildene, wherever 
you wish me to go. For you are my friend — now, as no 
one else. But for you, I am on earth forever alone." 



CHAPTER XXXV 

THE TRIAL 

After Mr. Ballard's visit to the jail, he took upon himself 
to do what he could for the young man, out of sympathy 
and friendship toward both parties, and in the cause of 
simple justice. He consulted the only available counsel 
left him in Leauvite, a young lawyer named Nathan Good- 
body, whom he knew but slightly. 

He told him as much of the case as he thought proper, 
and then gave him a note to the prisoner, addressing him 
as Harry King. Armed with this letter the young lawyer 
was soon in close consultation with his new client. Despite 
Nathan Goodbody's youth Harry was favorably impressed. 
The young man was so interested, so alert, so confident 
that all would be well. He seemed to believe so completely 
the story Harry told him, and took careful notes of it, say- 
ing he would prepare a brief of the facts and the law, and 
that Harry might safely leave everything to him. 

"You were wounded in the hip, you say," Nathan Good- 
body questioned him. "We must not neglect the smallest 
item that may help you, for your case needs strengthening. 
You say you were lamed by it — but you seem to have re- 
covered from that. Is there no scar ?" 

"That will not help me. My cousin was wounded also, 
but his was only a flesh wound from which he quickly re- 
covered and of which he thought nothing. I doubt if any 

445 



446 THE EYE OF DREAD 

one here in Leauvite ever heard of it, but it's the irony of 
fate that he was more badly scarred by it than I. He was 
struck by a spent bullet that tore the flesh only, while the 
one that hit me went cleanly to the bone, and splintered it. 
Mine laid me up for a year before I could even walk with 
crutches, while he was back at his post in a week." 

"And both wounds were in the same place — on the same 
side, for instance?" 

"On the same side, yes ; but his was lower down. Mine 
entered the hip here, while he was struck about here." 
Harry indicated the places with a touch of his finger. "I 
think it would be best to say nothing about the scars, unless 
forced to do so, for I walk as well now as I ever did, and that 
will be against me." 

"That's a pity, now, isn't it? Suppose you try to get 
back a little of the old limp." 

Harry laughed. " No, I'll walk straight. Besides they've 
seen me on the street, and even in my father's bank." 

"Too bad, too bad. Why did you do it ?" 

"How could I guess there would be such an impossible 
development ? Until I saw Miss Ballard here in this cell 
I thought my cousin dead. Why, my reason for coming 
here was to confess my crime, but they won't give me the 
chance. They arrest me first of all for killing myself. Now 
that I know my cousin lives I don't seem to care what 
happens to me, except for — others." 

"But man ! You must put up a fight. Suppose your 
cousin is no longer living ; you don't want to spend the rest 
of your life in the penetentiary because he can't be found." 

"I see. If he is living, this whole trial is a farce, and if 
he is not, it's a tragedy." 



THE TRIAL 447 

" We'll never let it become a tragedy, 111 promise you 
that." The young man spoke with smiling confidence, but 
when he reached his office again and had closed the door 
behind him, his manner changed quickly to seriousness and 
doubt. 

"I don't know," he said to himself, "I don't know if this 
story can be made to satisfy a jury or not. A little shady. 
Too much coincidence to suit me." He sat drumming 
with his fingers on his desk for a while, and then rose and 
turned to his books. "I'll have a little law on this case, — 
some point upon which we can go to the Supreme Court," 
and for the rest of that day and long into the night Nathan 
Goodbody consulted with his library. 

In anticipation of the unusual public interest the District 
Attorney directed the summoning of twenty-five jurors in 
addition to the twenty-five of the regular panel. On the 
day set for the trial the court room was packed to the doors. 
Inside the bar were the lawyers and the officers of the court. 
Elder Craigmile sat by Milton Hibbard. In the front 
seats just outside the bar were the fifty jurors and back of 
them were the ladies who had come early, or who had been 
given the seats of their gentlemen friends who had come 
early, and whose gallantry had momentarily gotten the 
better of their judgment. 

The stillness of the court room, like that of a church, 
was suddenly broken by the entrance of the judge, a tall, 
spare man, with gray hair and a serious outlook upon life. 
As he walked toward his seat, the lawyers and officers of 
the court rose and stood until he was seated. The clerk of 
the court read from a large book the journal of the court of 
the previous day and then handed the book to the judge to 



448 THE EYE OF DREAD 

be signed. When this ceremony was completed, the judge 
took up the court calender and said, — 

"The State v. Richard Kildene," and turning to the law- 
yers engaged in the case added, "Gentlemen, are you 
ready?" 

"We are ready," answered the District Attorney. 
, "Bring in the prisoner." 

When Harry entered the court room in charge of the 
sheriff, he looked neither to the right nor to the left, and 
saw no one before him but his own counsel, who arose and 
extended a friendly hand, and led him to a seat beside him- 
self within the bar. 

Nathan Goodbody then rose, and, addressing the court 
with an air of confident modesty, as if he were bringing 
forward a point so strong as to require nothing more than 
the simple statement to give it weight, said : — 

"If the court please, the defense is ready, but I have 
noticed, as no doubt the court has noticed, a distinguished 
member of this bar sitting with the District Attorney as 
though it were intended that he should take part in the trial 
of this case, and I am advised that he intends to do so. I 
am also advised that he is in the employ of the complaining 
witness who sits beside him, and that he has received, or 
expects to receive, compensation from him for his services. 
I desire at the outset of this case to raise a question as to 
whether counsel employed and paid by a private person 
has a right to assist in the prosecution of a criminal cause. 
I therefore object to the appearance of Mr. Hibbard as 
counsel in this case, and to his taking any part in this trial. 
If the facts I have stated are questioned, I will ask Elder 
Craigmile to be sworn." 



THE TRIAL 449 

The court replied: "I shall assume the facts to be as 
stated by you unless the counsel on the other side dissent 
from such a statement. Considering the facts to be as 
stated, your objection raises a novel question. Have you 
any authorities ?" 

"I do not know that the Supreme Court of this State 
has passed upon this question. I do not think it has, but 
my objection finds support in the well-established rule in 
this country, that a public prosecutor acts in a quasi- judicial 
capacity. His object, like that of the court, should be 
simple justice. The District Attorney represents the public 
interest which can never be promoted by the conviction of 
the innocent. As the District Attorney himself could not 
accept a fee or reward from private parties, so, I urge, counsel 
employed to assist him must be equally disinterested. ,, 

"The court considers the question an interesting one, but 
the practice in the past has been against your contention. 
I will overrule your objection, and give you an exception. 
Mr. Clerk, call a jury!" 1 

Then came the wearisome technicalities of the empanel- 
ing of a jury, with challenges for cause and peremptory 
challenges, until nearly the entire panel of fifty jurors 
was exhausted. 

In this way two days were spent, with a result that when 
counsel on both sides expressed themselves as satisfied 
with the jury, every one in the court room doubted it. As 
the sheriff confided to the clerk, it was an even bet that the 
first twelve men drawn were safer for both sides than the 
twelve men who finally stood with uplifted hands and were 

1 The question raised by the prisoner's counsel was ruled in favor of 
his contention in Biemel v. State. 71 Wis. 444, decided in 1888. 



45© THE EYE OF DREAD 

again sworn by the clerk. Harry King, who had never 
witnessed a trial in his life, began to grow interested in 
these details quite aside from his own part therein. He 
watched the clerk shaking the box, wondering why he did 
so, until he saw the slips of paper being drawn forth one by 
one from the small aperture on the top, and listened while 
the name written on each was called aloud. Some of the 
names were familiar to him, and it seemed as if he must 
turn about and speak to the men who responded to their 
roll call, saying "here" as each rose in his place behind him. 
But he resisted the impulse, never turning his head, and only 
glancing curiously at each man as he took his seat in the 
jury box at the order of the judge. 

During all these proceedings the Elder sat looking 
straight before him, glancing at the prisoner only when 
obliged to do so, and coldly as an outsider might do. The 
trial was taking more time than he had thought possible, 
and he saw no reason for such lengthy technicalities and 
the delay in calling the witnesses. His air was worn and 
weary. 

The prisoner, sitting beside his counsel, had taken less 
and less interest in the proceedings, and the crowds, who 
had at first filled the court room, had also lost interest and 
had drifted off about their own affairs until the real business 
of the taking of testimony should come on, till, at the close 
of the second day, the court room was almost empty of 
visitors. The prisoner was glad to see them go. So many 
familiar faces, faces from whom he might reasonably ex- 
pect a smile, or a handshake, were it possible, or at the 
very least a nod of recognition, all with their eyes fixed on 
him, in a blank gaze of aloofness or speculation. He felt 



THE TRIAL 4Sr 

as if his soul must have been in some way separated from 
his body, and then returned to it to find all the world gazing 
at the place where his soul should be without seeing that it 
had returned and was craving their intelligent support. 
The whole situation seemed to him cruelly impossible, — 
a sort of insane delusion. Only one face never failed him, 
that of Bertrand Ballard, who sat where he might now and 
then meet his eye, and who never left the court room while 
the case was on. 

When the time arrived for the introduction of the wit- 
nesses, the court room again filled up ; but he no longer 
looked for faces he knew. He held himself sternly aloof, 
as if he feared his reason might leave him if he continued 
to strive against those baffling eyes, who knew him and 
did not know that they knew him, but who looked at 
him as if trying to penetrate a mask when he wore no 
mask. Occasionally his counsel turned to him for brief 
consultation, in which his part consisted generally of a nod 
or a shake of the head as the case might be. 

While the District Attorney was addressing the jury, 
Milton Hibbard moved forward and took the District 
Attorney's seat. 

Then followed the testimony of the boys — now shy lads 
in their teens, who had found the evidences of a struggle 
and possible murder so long before on the river bluff. 
Under the adroit lead of counsel, they told each the same 
story, and were excused cross-examination. Both boys had 
identified the hat found on the bluff, and testified that 
the brown stain, which now appeared somewhat faintly, 
had been a bright red, and had looked like blood. 

Then Bertrand Ballard was called, and the questions put 



452 THE EYE OF DREAD 

to him were more searching. Though the maimer of the 
examiner was respectful and courteous, he still contrived 
to leave the impression on those in the court room that he 
hoped to draw out some fact that would lead to the discovery 
of matters more vital to the case than the mere details to 
which the witness testified. But Bertrand Ballard's prompt 
and straightforward answers, and his simple and courteous 
manner, were a full match for the able lawyer, and after two 
hours of effort he subsided. 

Then the testimony of the other witnesses was taken, 
even to that of the little housemaid who had been in the 
family at the time, and who had seen Peter Junior wear the 
hat. Did she know it for his ? Yes. Why did she know 
it ? Because of the little break in the straw, on the edge 
of the brim. But any man's hat might have such a break. 
What was there about this particular break to make it the 
hat of Peter Junior? Because she had made it herself. 
She had knocked it down one day when she was brushing 
up in the front hall, and when she hung it up again, she had 
seen the break, and knew she had done it. 

And thus, in the careful scrutiny of small things, relating 
to the habits, life, and manner of dressing of the two young 
men, — matters about which nobody raised any question, 
and in which no one except the examiner took any interest, 
— more days crept by, until, at last, the main witnesses for 
the State were reached. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

NELS NELSON'S TESTIMONY 

The day was very warm, and the jury sat without their 
coats. The audienqe, who had had time to debate and argue 
the question over and over, were all there ready to throng 
in at the opening of the doors, and sat listening, eager, anx- 
ious, and perspiring. Some were strongly for the young 
man and some were as determined for the Elder's views, 
and a tension of interest and friction of minds pervaded 
the very atmosphere of the court room. It had been the 
effort of Milton Hibbard to work up the sentiment of those 
who had been so eagerly following the trial, in favor of his 
client's cause, before bringing on the final coup of the testi- 
mony of the Swede, and, last of all, that of Betty Ballard. 

Poor little Betty, never for a moment doubting her per- 
ception in her recognition of Peter Junior, yet fearing those 
doubting ones in the court room, sat at home, quivering 
with the thought that the truth she must tell when at last 
her turn came might be the one straw added to the burden 
of evidence piled up to convict an innocent man. Word- 
lessly and continually in her heart she was praying that 
Richard might know and come to them, calling him, calling 
him, in her thoughts ceaselessly imploring help, patience, 
delay, anything that might hold events still until Richard 
could reach them, for deep in her heart of faith she knew he 
would come. Wherever in all the universe he might be, 

453 



454 THE EYE OF DREAD 

her cry must find him and bring him. He would feel it in 
his soul and fly to them. 

Bertrand brought Betty and her mother news of the 
proceedings, from day to day, and always as he sat in the 
court room watching the prisoner and the Elder, looking 
from one set face to the other, he tried to convince himself 
that Mary and Betty were right in their firm belief that it 
was none other than Peter Junior who sat there with that 
steadfast look and the unvarying statement that he was the 
Elder's son, and had returned to give himself up for the 
murder of his cousin Richard, in the firm belief that he had 
left him dead on the river bluff. 

G. B. Stiles sat at the Elder's side, and when Nels Nelson 
was brought in and sworn, he glanced across at Milton 
Hibbard with an expression of satisfaction and settled 
himself back to watch the triumph of his cause and the 
enjoyment of the assurance of the ten thousand dollars. 
He had coached the Swede and felt sure he would give his 
testimony with unwavering clearness. 

The Elder's face worked and his hands clutched hard on 
the arms of his chair. It was then that Bertrand Ballard, 
watching him with sorrowful glances, lost all doubt that the 
prisoner was in truth what he claimed to be, for, under the 
tension of strong feeling, the milder lines of the younger 
man's face assumed a set power of will, — immovable, — 
implacable, — until the force within him seemed to mold the 
whole contour of his face into a youthful image of that of 
the man who refused even to look at him. 

Every eye in the court room was fixed on the Swede 
as he took his place before the court and was bade to 
look on the prisoner. Throughout his whole testimony he 



NELS NELSON'S TESTIMONY 455 

never varied from his first statement. It was always the 
same. 

"Do you know the prisoner ?" 

"Yas, I know heem. Dot is heem, I seen heem two, 
t'ree times." 

"When did you see him first?" 

"By Ballards* I seen heem first — he vas horse ridin' dot 
time. It vas nobody home by Ballards' dot time. Efery- 
body vas gone off by dot peek-neek." 

"At that time did the prisoner speak to you ?" 

"Yas, he asket me where is Ballards' folks, und I tol* 
heem by peek-neek, und he asket me where is it for a peek- 
neek is dey gone, und I toP heem by Carter's woods by der 
river, und he asket me is Mees Betty gone by dem yet or 
is she home, und I toP heem yas she is gone mit, und he is 
off like der vind on hees horse already." 

"When did you see the prisoner next?" 

"By Ballards' yard dot time." 

"What time?" 

"It vas Sunday morning I seen heem, talkin' mit her." 

"With whom was he talking?" 

" Oh, he talk mit Ballards* girl — Mees Betty. Down by 
der spring house I seen heem go, und he kiss her plenty — 
I seen heem." 

"You are sure it was the prisoner you saw? You are 
sure it was not Peter Craigmile, Jr. ?" 

"Sure it vas heem I saw. Craikmile's son, he vas lame, 
und valk by der crutch all time. No, it vas dot man dere 
I saw." 

"Where were you when you saw him ?" 

"I vas by my room vere I sleep. It vas a wine growin' 



456 THE EYE OF DREAD 

by der vindow up, so dey nefer see me, bot I seen dem all 
right. I seen heem kiss her und I seen her tell heem go vay, 
und push heem off, und she cry plenty." 
"Did you hear what he said to her ?" 
Bertrand Ballard looked up at the examiner angrily, and 
counsel for the prisoner objected to the question, but the 
judge allowed it to pass unchallenged, on the ground that it 
was a question pertaining to the motive for the deed of 
which the prisoner was accused. 

" Yas, I hear it a little. Dey vas come up und stand dere 
by de vindow under, und I hear dem talkin'. She cry, und 
say she vas sorry he vas kiss her like dot, und he say he is 
goin' vay, und dot is vot for he done it, und he don't come 
back no more, und she cry some more." 

"Did he say anything against his cousin at that time ?" 
"No, he don' say not'ing, only yust he say, 'dot's all 
right bouts heem/ he say, 'Peter Junior goot man all right, 
only he goin' vay all same.'" 

"Was that the last time you saw the prisoner?" 
"No, I seen heem dot day und it vas efening." 
"Where were you when you saw him next ?" 
"I vas goin' 'long mit der calf to eat it grass dere by 
Ballards* yard, und he vas goin' 'long mit hees cousin, 
Craikmile's son, und he vas walkin' slow for hees cousin, 
he don' got hees crutch dot day, he valk mit dot stick dere, 
und he don' go putty quvick mit it." Nels pointed to 
the heavy blackthorn stick lying on the table before 
the jury. 
"Were the two young men talking together ?" 
"No, dey don' speak much. I hear it he say, 'It iss 
better you valk by my arm a little yet, Peter/ und Craik- 



NELS NELSON'S TESTIMONY 457 

mile's son, he say, l You go vay mit your arm, I got no need 
by it/ like he vas little mad yet." 

"You say you saw him in the morning with Miss Ballard. 
Where were the family at that time ?" 

"Oh, dey vas gone by der church already." 

"And in the evening where were they?" 

"Oh, dey vas by der house und eat supper den." 

"Did you see the prisoner again that day ?" 

"No, I didn* see heem dot day no more, bot dot next day 
I seen heem — goot I seen heem." 

Harry King here asked his counsel to object to his allow- 
ing the witness to continually assert that the man he saw 
was the prisoner. 

"He does not know that it was I. He is mistaken as are 
you all." And Nathan Goodbody leaped to his feet. 

"I object on behalf of my client to the assumption 
throughout this whole examination, that the man whom 
the witness claims to have seen was the prisoner. No proof 
to that effect has yet been brought forward." 

The witness was then required to give his reasons for his 
assertion that the prisoner was the man he saw three years 
before. 

"By what marks do you know him ? Why is he not the 
man he claims to be, the son of the plaintiff ? " 

"Oh, I know heem all right. Meester Craikmile's son, 
he vos more white in de face. Hees hair vas more — more 
— I don* know how you call dot — crooked on hees head 
yet." Nels put his hand to his head and caught one of his 
straight, pale gold locks, and twisted it about. "It vas 
goin' round so, — und it vas more lighter yet as dot man 
here, und hees face vas more lighter too, und he valked mit 



458 THE EYE OF DREAD 

stick all time und he don' go long mit hees head up, — red 
in hees face like dis man here und dark in hees face too. 
Craikmile's son go all time limpin' so." Nels took a step 
to illustrate the limp of Peter Junior when he had seen him 
last. 

"Do you see any other points of difference? Were the 
young men the same height ?" 

" Yas, dey vas yust so high like each other, but not so vide 
out yet. Dis man he iss vider yet as Meester Craikmile's 
son, he iss got more chest like von goot horse — Oh, I 
know by men yust de same like horses vat iss der difference 
yet." 

"Now you tell the court just what you saw the next day. 
At what time of the day was it ?" 

"It vas by der night I seen heem." 

"On Monday night?" 

"Yas." 

"Late Monday night?" 

"No, not so late, bot it vas dark already." 

"Tell the court exactly where you saw him, when you 
saw him, and with whom you saw him, and what you heard 
said." 

"It vas by Ballards' I seen heem. I vas comin' home 
und it vas dark already yust like I toP you, und I seen dot 
man come along by Ballards' house und stand by der door 
— long time I seen heem stan* dere, und I yust go by der 
little trees under, und vatching vat it is for doin' dere, dot 
man ? Und I seen heem it iss der young man vat iss come 
dot day askin' vere iss Ballards' folks, und so I yust wait 
und look a little out, und I vatchin' heem. Und I seen 
heem stand und vaitin' minute by der door outside, und I 



NELS NELSONS TESTIMONY 459 

get me low under dem little small flowers bushes Ballards 
is got by der door under dot vindow dere, und I seen heem, 
he goin' in, and yust dere is Mees Betty sittin', und he go 
quvick down on hees knees, und dere she yump lak she is 
scairt. Den she take heem hees head in her hands und she 
asket heem vat for is it dat blud he got it on hees head, und 
so he say it is by fightin > he is got it, und she say vy for is he 
fighting und he say mithees cousin he fight, und hees cousin 
he hit heem so, und she asket heem vy for is hees cousin 
hit heem, und vy for iss he fightin' mit hees cousin any vay, 
und den dey bot is cryin'. So I seen dot — und den she go 
by der kitchen und bring vater und vash heem hees head 
und tie clots round it so nice, und dere dey is talking und he 
tor her he done it." 

"What did he tell her he had done ?" 

"Oh, he say he keel heem hees cousin. Dot vat I tol* 
you he done it." 

"How did he say he killed him ?" 

The silence in the court room was painful in its intensity. 
The Elder leaned forward and listened with contorted face, 
and the prisoner held his breath. A pallor overspread his 
face and his hands were clenched. 

"Oh, he say he push heem in der rifer ofer, und he do it 
all right for he liket to do it, but he say he goin' run vay for 
dot." 

"You mean to say that he said he intended to push him 
over ? That he tried to do it ? " 

"Oh, yas, he say he liket to push heem ofer, und he liket 
to do dot, but he sorry any vay he done it, und he runnin' 
vay for dot." 

"Tell the court what happened then." 



460 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Den she get him somedings to eat, und dey sit dere, 
und dey talk, und dey cry plenty, und she is feel putty bad, 
und he is feel putty bad, too. Und so — he go out und shut 
dot door, und he valkin' down der pat', und she yust come 
out der door, und run to heem und asket heem vere he is 
goin' und if he tell her somedings vere he go, und he say no, 
he tell her not'ing yet. Und den she say maybe he is not 
keel heem any vay, bot yust t'inkin' he keel him, und he toP 
her yas, he keel heem all right, he push heem ofer und he is 
dead already, und so he kiss her some more, und she is cry 
some more, und I t'ink he is cry, too, bot dot is all. He 
done it all right. Und he is gone off den, und she is gone in 
her house, und I don't see more no." 

As the witness ceased speaking Mr. Hibbard turned to 
counsel for the prisoner and said : "Cross-examine." 

Rising in his place, and advancing a few steps toward the 
witness, the young lawyer began his cross-examination. 
His task did not call for the easy nonchalance of his more 
experienced adversary, who had the advantage of knowing 
in advance just what his witness would testify. It was for 
him to lead a stubborn and unwilling witness through the 
mazes of a well-prepared story, to unravel, if possible, some 
of its well-planned knots and convince the jury if he could 
that the witness was not reliable and his testimony un- 
trustworthy. 

But this required a master in the art of cross-examination, 
and a master begins the study of his subject — the witness 
— before the trial. In subtle ways with which experience 
has made him familiar, he studies his man, his life, his 
character, his habits, his strength, his weakness, his foibles. 
He divines when he will hesitate, when he will stumble, and 



NELS NELSON'S TESTIMONY 461 

he is ready to pounce upon him and force his hesitation 
into an attempt at concealment, his stumble into a fall. 

It is no discredit to Nathan Goodbody that he lacked the 
skill and cunning of an astute cross-examiner. Unlike 
poets, they are made, not born, and he found the Swede to 
be a difficult witness to handle to his purpose. He suc- 
ceeded in doing little more than to get him to reaffirm the 
damaging testimony he had already given. 

Being thus baffled, he determined to bring in here a point 
which he had been reserving to use later, should Milton Hib- 
bard decide to take up the question of Peter Junior's lame- 
ness. As this did not seem to be imminent, and the testi- 
mony of Nels Nelson had been so convincing, he wished of 
all things to delay the calling of the next witness until he 
could gain time, and carry the jury with him. Should Betty 
Ballard be called to the stand that day he felt his cause 
would be lost. Therefore, in the moment's pause following 
the close of his cross-examination of the last witness, he 
turned and addressed the court. 

"May it please the Court. Knowing that there is but 
one more witness to be called, and that the testimony of 
that witness can bring forward no new light on this matter, 
I have excellent reason to desire at this time to move the 
Court to bring in the verdict of not guilty." 

At these words the eyes of every one in the court room 
were turned upon the speaker, and the silence was such that 
his next words, though uttered in a low voice, were distinctly 
heard by all present. 

"This motion is based upon the fact that the State has 
failed to prove the corpus delicti, upon the law, which is 
clear, that without such proof there can be no conviction 



462 THE EYE OF DREAD 

of the crime of murder. If the testimony of the witness 
Nels Nelson can be accepted as the admission of the man 
Richard Kildene, until the State can prove the corpus 
delicti, no proof can be brought that it is the admission of 
the prisoner at the bar. I say that until such proof can be 
brought by the State, no further testimony can convict the 
prisoner at the bar. If it please the Court, the authorities 
are clear that the fact that a murder has been committed 
cannot be established by proof of the admissions, even of 
the prisoner himself that he has committed the crime. 
There must be direct proof of death as by finding and iden- 
tification of the body of the one supposed to be murdered. 
I have some authorities here which I would like to read to 
your honor if you will hear them." 

The face of the judge during this statement of the 
prisoner's counsel was full of serious interest. He leaned 
forward with his elbow on the desk before him, and with 
his hand held behind his ear, intent to catch every word. 
As counsel closed the judge glanced at the clock hanging on 
the wall and said : — 

"It is about time to close. You may pass up your 
authorities, and I will take occasion to examine them before 
the court opens in the morning. If counsel on the other 
side have any authorities, I will be pleased to have 
them also. 



CHAPTER XXXVn 

THE STRANGER'S ARRIVAL 

On taking his seat at the opening of court the next morn- 
ing, the judge at once announced his decision. 

"I have given such thought as I have been able to the 
question raised by counsel last evening, and have examined 
authorities cited by him, and others, bearing upon the 
question, and have reached the conclusion that his motion 
must be overruled. It is true that a conviction for murder 
cannot rest alone upon the extra-judicial admission of the 
accused. And in the present case I must remind the court 
and the jury that thus far the identity of the prisoner has 
not yet been established, as it is not determined whether 
or not he is the man whom the witness, Nels Nelson, heard 
make the admission. It is true there must be distinct proof, 
sufficient to satisfy the jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, 
that homicide has been committed by some one, before the 
admission of the accused that he did the act can be con- 
sidered. But I think that fact can be established by cir- 
cumstantial evidence, as well as any other fact in the case, 
and I shall so charge the jury. I will give you an excep- 
tion. Mr Nathan Goodbody, you may go on with your 
defense after the hearing of the next witness, which is now in 
order." 1 

1 The ruling of the court upon this point was afterwards justified 
by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in the case of Buel v. State, 104 
Wis. 132, decided in 1899. 

463 



464 THE EYE OF DREAD 

The decision of the court was both a great surprise and 
a disappointment to the defendant's young counsel. Con- 
sidering the fact that the body of the man supposed to have 
been murdered had never been found, and that his death 
had been assumed from his sudden disappearance, and the 
finding of his personal articles scattered on the river bluff, 
together with the broken edge of the bluff and the traces 
of some object having been thrown down the precipice at 
that point, and the fact that the State was relying upon the 
testimony of the eavesdropping Swede to prove confession 
by the prisoner, he still had not been prepared for the testi- 
mony of this witness that he had heard the accused say that 
he had killed his cousin, and that it had been his intention 
to kill him. He was dismayed, but he had not entirely 
lost confidence in his legal defense, even now that the judge 
had ruled against him. There was still the Supreme Court. 

He quickly determined that he would shift his attack 
from the court, where he had been for the time repulsed, 
and endeavor to convince the jury that the fact that Peter 
Junior was really dead had not "been proven beyond a 
reasonable doubt." 

Applying to the court for a short recess to give him time 
to consult with his client, he used the time so given in 
going over with the prisoner the situation in which the 
failure of his legal defense had left them. He had hoped 
to arrest the trial on the point he had made so as to eliminate 
entirely the hearing of further testimony, — that of Betty 
Ballard, — and also to avoid the necessity of having his 
client sworn, which last was inevitable if Betty's testimony 
was taken. 

He had never been able to rid himself of the impression 



THE STRANGER'S ARRIVAL 465 

left upon his mind when first he heard the story from his 
client's lips, that there was in it an element of coincidence 

— too like dramatic fiction, or that if taken ideally, it was 
above the average juryman's head. 

He admonished the prisoner that when he should be called 
upon for his testimony, he must make as little as possible of 
the fact of their each being scarred on the hip, and scarred 
on the head, the two cousins dramatically marked alike, 
and that he must in no way allude to his having seen Betty 
Ballard in the prison alone. 

"That was a horrible mistake. You must cut it out of 
your testimony unless they force it. Avoid it. And you 
must make the jury see that your return was a matter of 

— of — well, conscience — and so forth." 

"I must tell the truth. That is all that I can do," said 
the prisoner, wearily. "The judge is looking this way, — 
shall we — " 

Nathan Goodbody rose quickly. "If the court please, 
we are ready to proceed." 

Then at last Betty Ballard was called to the witness 
stand. The hour had come for which all the village had 
waited, and the fame of the trial had spread beyond the 
village, and all who had known the boys in their childhood 
and in their young manhood, and those who had been their 
companions in arms — men from their own regiment — were 
there. The matter had been discussed among them more 
or less heatedly and now the court room could not hold the 
crowds that thronged its doors. 

At this time, unknown to any of the actors in the drama, 
three strangers, having made their way through the crowd 
outside the door, were allowed to enter, and stood together 



466 THE EYE OF DREAD 

in the far comer of the court room unnoticed by the throng, 
intently watching and listening. They had arrived from the 
opposite sides of the earth, and had met at the village hotel. 
Larry had spied the younger man first, and, scarcely know- 
ing what he was doing, or why, he walked up to him, and 
spoke, involuntarily holding out his hand to him. 

"Tell me who you are," he said, ere Richard could sur- 
mise what was happening. 

"My name is Kildene," said Richard, frankly. "Have 
you any reason for wishing to know me?" 

For the moment he thought his interlocutor might be a 
detective, or one who wished to verify a suspicion. Having 
but that moment arrived, and knowing nothing of the trial 
which was going on, he could think only of his reason for his 
return to Leauvite, and was glad to make an end of incognito 
and sorrowful durance, and wearisome suspense, and he did 
not hesitate, nor try any art of concealment. He looked 
directly into Larry's eyes, almost defiantly for an instant, 
then seeing in that rugged face a kindly glint of the eye and 
a quiver about the mouth, his heart lightened and he 
grasped eagerly the hand held out to him. 

"Perhaps you will tell me whom you are? I suppose I 
ought to know, but IVe been away from here a long time." 

Then the older man's hand fell a-trembling in his, and 
did not release him, but rather clung to him as if he had had 
a shock. 

" Come over here and sit beside me a moment, young 
man — I — I've — I'm not feeling as strong as I look. I 
— I've a thing to tell you. Sit down — sit down. We are 
alone ? Yes. Every one's gone to the trial. I'm on here 
from the West myself to attend it." 



THE STRANGER'S ARRIVAL 467 

"The trial! What trial?" 

"You've heard nothing of it? I was thinking maybe 
you were also — were drawn here — you've but just come ?" 

"Fve been here long enough to engage a room — which 
I shan't want long. No, I've come for no trial exactly — 
maybe it might come to that — What have you to tell me?" 

But Larry Kildene sat silent for a time before replying. 
An eager joy had seized him, and a strange reticence held 
his tongue tied, a fear of making himself known to this son 
whom he had never Seen since he had held him in his arms, 
a weak, wailing infant, thinking only of his own loss. This 
dignified, stalwart young man, so pleasant to look upon — 
no wonder the joy of his heart was a terrible joy, a hun- 
gering, longing joy akin to pain ! How should he make 
himself known? In what words? A thousand thoughts 
crowded upon him. From Betty's letter he knew something 
of the contention now going on in the court room, and from 
the landlord last evening he had heard more, and he was 
impatient to get to the trial. 

Now this encounter with his own son, — the only one 
who could set all right, — and who yet did not know of 
the happenings which so imperatively required his presence 
in the court room, set Larry Kildene's thoughts stammer- 
ing and tripping over each other in such a confusion of 
haste, and with it all the shyness before the great fact of 
his unconfessed fatherhood, so overwhelmed him, that for 
once his facile Irish nature did not help him. He was at 
a loss for words, strangely abashed before this gentle-voiced, 
frank-faced, altogether likable son of his. So he temporized 
and beat about the bush, and did not touch first on that 
which was nearest his heart. 



468 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Yes, yes. I've a thing to tell you. You came here to 
be at a — a — trial — did you say, or intimate it might 
be ? If — if — you'll tell me a bit more, I maybe can help 
you — for I've seen a good bit of the world. It's a strange 
trial going on here now — IVe come to hear." 

"Tell me something about it," said Richard, humoring 
the older man's deliberation in arriving at his point. 

"It's little I know yet. I've come to learn, for I'm in- 
terested in the young man they're trying to convict. He's a 
sort of a relative of mine. I wish to see fair play. Why are 
you here? Have you done anything — what have you 
done?" 

The young man moved restlessly. He was confused by 
the suddenness of the question, which Larry's manner de- 
prived of any suggestion of rudeness. 

"Did I intimate I had done anything?" He laughed. 
" I'm come to make a statement to the proper ones — when 
I find them. I'll go over now and hear a bit of this trial, 
since you mention it." 

He spoke sadly and wearily, but he felt no resentment 
at the older man's inquisitiveness. Larry's face expressed 
too much kindliness to make resentment possible, but 
Richard was ill at ease to be talking thus intimately with a 
stranger who had but just chanced upon him. He rose to 
leave. 

"Don't go. Don't go yet. Wait a bit — God, man! 
Wait ! I've a thing to tell you." Larry leaned forward, 
and his face worked and tears glistened in his eyes as he 
looked keenly up into his son's face. "You're a beautiful 
lad — a man — I'm — You're strong and fine — I'm 
ashamed to tell it you — ashamed I've never looked on 



THE STRANGER'S ARRIVAL 469 

you since then — until now. I should have given all up 
and found you. Forgive me. Boy ! — I'm your father — 
your father!" He rose and stood looking levelly in his 
son's eyes, holding out both shaking hands. Richard took 
them in his and held them — but could not speak. 

The constraint of witnesses was not upon them, for they 
were quite alone on the piazza, but the emotion of each of 
them was beyond words. Richard swallowed, and waited, 
and then with no word they both sat down and drew their 
chairs closer together. The simple act helped them. 

"I've been nigh* on to a lifetime longing for you, lad." 

"And I for you, father." 

"That's the name I've been hungering to hear — " 

"And I to speak — " Still they looked in each other's 
eyes. "And we have a great deal to tell each other ! I'm 
almost sorry — that — that — that I've found you at 
last — for to do my duty will be harder now. I had no one 
to care — particularly before — unless — " 

"Unless a lass, maybe?" 

"One I've been loving and true to — but long ago given 
up — we won't speak of her. We'll have to talk a great 
deal, and there's so little time ! I must — must give myself 
up, father, to the law." 

"Couldn't you put it off a bit, lad ?" 

Larry could not have told why he kept silent so long in 
regard to the truth of the trial. It might have been a vague 
liking to watch the workings of his son's real self and a 
desire to test him to the full. From a hint dropped in 
Betty's letter he guessed shrewdly at the truth of the situa- 
tion. He knew now that Richard and his young friend of 
the mountain top were actuated by the same motives, and 



470 THE EYE OF DREAD 

he understood at last why Harry King would never accept 
his offer of help, nor would ever call him father. Because 
he could not take the place of the son, of whom, as he 
thought, he had robbed the man who so freely offered him 
friendship — and more than friendship. At last Larry 
understood why Peter Junior had never yielded to his 
advances. It was honor, and the test had been severe. 

"Put it off a little ? I might — I'm tempted — just to 
get acquainted with my father — but I might be arrested, 
and I would prefer not to be. I know I've been wanted for 
three years and over — it has taken me that long to learn 
that only the truth can make a man free, — and now I 
would rather give myself up, than to be taken — " 

"I'm knowing maybe more of the matter than you think 
— so we'll drop it. We must have a long talk later — but 
tell me now in a few words what you can." 

Then, drawn by the older man's gentle, magnetic sym- 
pathy, Richard unlocked his heart and told all of his life 
that could be crowded in those few short minutes, — 
of his boyhood's longings for a father of his own — of his 
young manhood's love, of his flight, and a little of his later 
life. "We'd be great chums, now, father, — if — if it 
weren't for this — that hangs over me." 

Then Larry could stand it no longer. He sprang up and 
clapped Richard on the shoulder. "Come, lad, come! 
We'll go to this trial together. Do you know who's being 
tried ? No. They'll have to get this off before they can 
take another on. I'm thinking you'll find your case none 
so bad as it seems to you now. First there's a thing I 
must do. My brother-in-law's in trouble — but it is his 
own fault — still I'm a mind to help him out. He's a fine 



THE STRANGER'S ARRIVAL 471 

hater, that brother-in-law of mine, but he's tried to do a 
father's part in the past by you — and done it well, while 
I've been soured. In the gladness of my heart I'll help 
him out — I'd made up my mind to do it before I left my 
mountain. Your father's a rich man, boy — with money 
in store for you — I say it in modesty, but he who reared 
you has been my enemy. Now I'm going to his bank, and 
there I'll make a deposit that will save it from ruin." 

He stood a moment chuckling, with both hands thrust 
deep in his pockets. "We'll go to that trial — it's over an 
affair of his, and he's fair in the wrong. We'll go and 
watch his discomfiture — and we'll see him writhe. We'll 
see him carry things his own way — the only way he can 
ever see — and then we'll watch him — man, we'll watch 
him — Oh, my boy, my boy ! I doubt it's wrong for me to 
exult over his chagrin, but that's what I'm going for now. 
It was the other way before I met you, but the finding of 
you has given me a light heart, and I'll watch that brother- 
in-law's set-down with right good will." 

He told Richard about Amalia, and asked him to wait 
until he fetched her, as he wished her to accompany them, 
but still he said nothing to him about his cousin Peter. He 
found Amalia descending the long flight of stairs, dressed 
to go out, and knew she had been awaiting him for the last 
half hour. Now he led her into the little parlor, while 
Richard paced up and down the piazza, and there, where 
she could see him as he passed the window to and fro, 
Larry told her what had come to him, and even found time 
to moralize over it, in his gladness. 

" That's it. A man makes up his mind to do what's right 
regardless of all consequences or his prejudices, or what 



472 THE EYE OF DREAD 

not, — and from that moment all begins to grow clear, and 
he sees right — and things come right. Now look at the 
man ! He's a fine lad, no ? They're both fine lads — 
but this one's mine. Look at him I say. Things are to 
come right for him, and all through his making up his mind 
to come back here and stand to his guns. The same way 
with Harry King. I've told you the contention — and at 
last you know who he is — but mind you, no word yet to 
my son. I'll tell him as we walk along. I'm to stop at 
the bank first, and if we tell him too soon, he'll be for going 
to the courthouse straight. The landlord tells me there's 
danger of a run on the bank to-morrow and the only reason 
it hasn't come to-day is that the bank's been closed all the 
morning for the trial. I'm thinking that was policy, for 
whoever heard of a bank's being closed in the morning for 
a trial — or anything short of a death or a holiday? " 

"But if it is now closed, why do we wait to go there ? It 
is to do nothing we make delay," said Amalia, anxiously. 

"I told Decker to send word to the cashier to be there, 
as a deposit is to be made. If he can't be there for that, 
then it's his own fault if to-morrow finds him unprepared." 
Larry stepped out to meet Richard and introduced Amalia. 
He had already told Richard a little of her history, and now 
he gave her her own name, Manovska. 

After a few moments' conversation she asked Larry : "I 
may keep now my own name, it is quite safe, is not ? They 
are gone now — those for whom I feared." 

"Wait a little," said Richard. "Wait until you have 
been down in the world long enough to be sure. It is a 
hard thing to live under suspicion, and until you have means 
of knowing/ the other will be safer." 



THE STRANGER'S ARRIVAL 473 

"You think so? Then is better. Yes? Ah, Sir 
Kildene, how it is beautiful to see your son does so very 
much resemble our friend." 

They arrived at the bank, and Larry entered while 
Richard and Amalia strolled on together. "We had a 
friend, Harry King, " — she paused and would have cor- 
rected herself, but then continued — "he was very much 
like to you — but he is here in trouble, and it is for that for 
which we have come here. Sir Kildene is so long in that 
bank ! I would go in haste to that place where is our 
friend. Shall we turn and walk again a little toward the 
bank ? So will we the sooner encounter him on the way." 

They returned and met Larry coming out, stepping 
briskly. He too was eager to be at the courthouse. He 
took his son's arm and rapidly and earnestly told him the 
situation as he had just heard it from the cashier. He told 
him that which he had been keeping back, and impressed 
on him the truth that unless he had returned when he did, 
the talk in the town was that the trial was likely to go 
against the prisoner. Richard would have broken into a 
run, in his excitement, but Larry held him back. 

"Hold back a little, boy. Let us keep pace with you. 
There's really no hurry, only that impulse that sent you 
home — it was as if you were called, from all I can 
learn." 

"It is my reprieve. I am free. He has suffered, too. 
Does he know yet that I too live ? Does he know ? " 

"Perhaps not — yet, but listen to me. Don't be too 
hasty in showing yourself. If they did not know him, they 
won't know you — for you are enough different for them 
never to suspect you, now that they have, or think they 



474 THE EYE OF DREAD 

have, the man for whom they have been searching. See 
here, man, hold back for my sake. That man — that 
brother-in-law of mine — has walked for years over my 
heart, and I've done nothing. He has despised me, and 
without reason — because I presumed to love your mother, 
lad, against his arrogant will. He — he — would — I will 
see him down in the dust of repentance. I will see him 
willfully convict his own son — he who has been hungering 
to see you — my son — sent to a prison for life — or 
hanged." 

Richard listened, lingering as Larry wished, appalled 
at this revelation, until they arrived at the edge of the 
crowd around the door, eagerly trying to wedge themselves 
in wherever the chance offered. 

"Oh! Sir Kildene — we are here — now what to do! 
How can we go in there ?" said Amalia. 

Larry moved them aside slowly, pushing Amalia between 
Richard and himself, and intimating to those nearest him 
that they were required within, until a passage was grad- 
ually made for the three, and thus they reached the door 
and so gained admittance. And that was how they came 
to be there, crowded in a corner, all during the testimony 
of Betty Ballard, unheeded by those around them — mere 
units in the throng trying to hear the evidence and see the 
principals in the drama being enacted before them. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 
betty ballard's testimony 

Betty Ballard stood, her slight figure drawn up, poised, 
erect, her head thrown back, and her eyes fixed on the 
Elder's face. The silence of the great audience was so in- 
tense that the buzzing of flies circling around and around 
near the ceiling could be heard, while the people all leaned 
forward as with one emotion, their eyes on the principals 
before them, straining to hear, vivid, intent. 

Richard saw only Betty, heeding no one but her, feeling 
her presence. For a moment he stood pale as death, then 
the red blood mounted from his heart, staining his neck 
and his face with its deep tide and throbbing in his temples. 
The Elder felt her scrutiny and looked back at her, and his 
brows contracted into a frown of severity. 

"Miss Ballard," said the lawyer, "you are called upon 
to identify the prisoner in the box." 

She lifted her eyes to the judge's face, then turned them 
upon Milton Hibbard, then fixed them again upon the 
Elder, but did not open her lips. She did not seem to be 
aware that every eye in the court room was fastened upon 
her. Pale and grave and silent she stood thus, for to her 
the struggle was only between herself and the Elder. 

" Miss Ballard, you are called upon to identify the prisoner 
in the box. Can you do so ?" asked the lawyer again, pa- 
tiently. 

475 



i 



476 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Again she turned her clear eyes on the judge's face, "Yes, 
I can." Then, looking into the Elder's eyes, she said: 
"He is your son, Elder Craigmile. He is Peter. You 
know him. Look at him. He is Peter Junior." Her voice 
rang clear and strong, and she pointed to the prisoner with 
steady hand. "Look at him, Elder Craigmile; he is your 
son." 

"You will address the jury and the court, Miss Ballard, 
,and give your reasons for this assertion. How do you 
know he is Peter Craigmile, Jr. ?" 

Then she turned toward the jury, and holding out both 
hands in sudden pleading action cried out earnestly: "I 
inow him. He is Peter Junior. Can't you see he is Peter, 
"the Elder's son?" 

"But how do you know him ?" 

"Because it is he. I know him the way we always know 
people — by just — knowing them. He is Peter Junior." 

"Have you seen the prisoner before since his return to 
Leauvite?" 

"Yes, I went to the jail and I saw him, and I knew him." 

"But give a reason for your knowledge. How did you 
know him?" 

"By — by the look in his eyes — by his hands — Oh! 
I just knew him in a moment. I knew him." 

"Miss Ballard, we have positive proof that Peter Junior 
was murdered and from the lips of his murderer. The 
witness just dismissed says he heard Richard Kildene tell 
you he pushed his cousin Peter Junior over the bluff into 
the river. Can you deny this statement ? On your sacred 
*>ath can you deny it ?" 

"No, but I don't have to deny it, for you can see for 



BETTY BALLARD'S TESTIMONY 477 

yourselves that Peter Junior is alive. He is not dead. He 
is here." 

"Did Richard Kildene ever tell you he had pushed his 
cousin over the bluff into the river? A simple answer is 
required, yes, or no !" 

She stood for a moment, her lips white and trembling. 
"Yes!" 

"When did he tell you this ?" 

"When he came to me, just after he thought he had done 
it — but he was mistaken — he did not — he only thought 
he had done it." 

"Did he tell you why he thought he had done it ? Tell 
the court all about it." 

Then Betty lifted her head and spoke rapidly — eagerly. 
"Because he was very angry with Peter Junior, and he 
wanted to kill him, and he did try to push him over, but 
Peter struck him, and Richard didn't truly know whether 
he really pushed him over or not, — for he lay there a long 
time before he even knew where he was, and when he came 
to himself again, he could not find Peter there and only his 
hat and things — he thought he must have done it, be- 
cause that was what he was trying to do, just as everyone 
else has thought it — because when Peter saw him lying 
there, he thought he had killed Richard, and so he pushed 
a great stone over to make every one think he had gone over 
the bluff and was dead, too, and he left his hat there and 
the other things, and now he has come back to give himself 
up, just as he has said, because he could not stand it to 
live any longer with the thought on his conscience that he 
had killed Richard when he struck him. But you would not 
let him give himself up. You have kept on insisting he 



478 THE EYE OF DREAD 

is Richard. And it is all your fault, Elder Craigmile, 
because you won't look to see that he is your son." 
She paused, panting, flushed and indignant. 

"Miss Ballard, you are here as a witness," said the judge. 
"You must restrain yourself and answer the questions that 
are asked you and make no comments." 

Here the Elder leaned forward and touched his attorney, 
and pointed a shaking hand at the prisoner and said a few 
words, whereat the lawyer turned sharply upon the witness. 

"Miss Ballard, you have visited the prisoner since he has 
been in the jail?" 

"Yes, I said so." 

"Your Honor," said the examiner, "we all know that the 
son of the plaintiff was lame, but this young man is sound 
on both his feet. You have been told that Richard Kildene 
was struck on the head and this young man bears the scar 
above his temple — " 

Richard started forward, putting his hand to his head and 
lifting his hair as he did so. He tried to call out, but in 
his excitement his voice died in his throat, and Larry seized 
him and held him back. 

"Watch him, — watch your uncle," he whispered in his 
ear. "He thinks he has you there in the box and he wants 
you to get the worst the law will give you. Watch him ! 
The girl understands him. See her eyes upon him. Stand 
still, boy ; give him a chance to have his will. He'll find it 
bitter when he learns the truth, and 'twill do him good. 
Wait, man ! You'll have it all in your hands later, and 
they'll be none the worse for waiting a bit longer. Hold on 
for my sake, son. I'll tell you why later, and you'll not be 
sorry you gave heed to me." 



BETTY BALLARD'S TESTIMONY 479 

In these short ejaculated sentences, with his arm through 
Richard's, Larry managed to keep him by his side as the 
examiner talked on. 

" Your Honor, this young lady admits that she has visited 
the prisoner in the jail, and can give adequate reason for 
her assertion that he is the man he claims to be. She tells 
us what occurred in that fight on the bluff — things that 
she was not there to see, things she could only learn from 
the prisoner: is there not reason to believe that her evi- 
dence has been arranged between them ?" 

"Yes, he told me, — Peter Junior told me, and he came 
here to give himself up, but you won't let him give himself 
up." 

"Miss Ballard," said the judge again, "you will remem- 
ber that you are to speak only in reply to questions put 
to you. Mr. Hibbard, continue the examination." 

"Miss Ballard, you admit that you saw Richard Kildene 
after he fought with his cousin ?" 

"Yes." 

"Was his head wounded ?" 

"Yes." 

"What did you do?" 

"I washed his head and bound it up. It was all 
bleeding." 

"Very well. Then you can say on your sacred oath 
that Richard Kildene was living and not murdered ?" 

"Yes." 

"Did you see Peter Junior after they fought?" 

"No. If I had seen him, I could have told every- 
body they were both alive and there would have been 
no—" 



4 8o THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Look at the prisoner. Can you tell the jury where the 
cut on Richard Kildene's head was ?" 

"Yes, I can. When I stood in front of him to bind it 
up, it was under my right hand." 

From this point the examiner began to touch upon things 
Betty would gladly have concealed in her own heart, con- 
cerning her engagement to Peter Junior, and her secret 
understanding with his cousin, and whether she loved the 
one or the other, and what characteristics in them caused 
her to prefer the one over the other, and why she had never 
confided her preferences to any of her relatives or friends. 
Still, with head erect, Betty flung back her answers. 

Bertrand listened and writhed. The prisoner sat with 
bowed head. To him she seemed a veritable saint. He 
knew how she suffered in this public revelation of herself 
— of her innocent struggle between love and loyalty, and 
maiden modesty, and that the desire to protect him and 
help him was giving her strength. He saw how valiantly 
she has been guarding her terrible secret from all the world 
while he had been fleeing and hiding. Ah, if he had only 
been courageous ! If he had not fled, nor tried to cover his 
flight with proofs of his death ! If he had but stood to his 
guns like a soldier ! He covered his face in shame. 

As for Richard, he gloried in her. He felt his heart swell 
in triumph as he listened. He heard Amalia Manovska 
murmur : "Ah, how she is very beautiful ! No wonder it 
is that they both loved her !" 

While he was filled with admiration for her, yet his heart 
ached for her, and with anger and reproach against himself. 
He saw no one but her, and he wanted to end it all and carry 
her away, but still yielded to his father's earnest plea that 



BETTY BALLARD'S TESTIMONY 48r 

he should wait. He understood, and would restrain him- 
self until Larry was satisfied, and the trial ended. Still the 
examination went on. 

"Miss Ballard, you admit that Peter Junior was lame 
when last you saw him, and you observe that the prisoner 
has no lameness, and you admit that you bound up a wound 
which had been inflicted on the head of Richard Kildene, 
and here you see the scar upon the prisoner ; can you still 
on your sacred oath declare this man to be the son of the 
plaintiff ?" 

"Yes!" She looked earnestly at the prisoner. "It 
is not the same head and it is not the same scar." Again 
she extended her hands toward the jury pleadingly and then 
toward the prisoner. "It is not by people's legs we know 
them, — nor by their scars — it is by themselves — by — 
by their souls. Oh ! I know you, Peter ! I know you ! " 

With the first petulance Milton Hibbard had shown 
during the trial he now turned to the prisoner's counsel and 
said : "Take the witness." 

"No cross-examination?" asked Nathan Goodbody, 
with a smile. 

"No." 

Then Betty flung one look back at the Elder, and fled 
to her mother and hid her flushed face on Mary Ballard's 
bosom. 

Now for the first time Richard could take an interest in 
the trial merely for his own and Peter Junior's sake. He 
saw Nathan Goodbody lean over and say a few words 
hurriedly to the prisoner, then rise and slightly lift his hand 
as if to make a special request. 

"If the court please, the accused desires permission to 




482 THE EYE OF DREAD 

tell his own story. May he be sworn on his own be- 
half?" 

Permission being given, the prisoner rose and walked to 
the witness chair, and having been sworn by the clerk to 
tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, 
began his statement. 

Standing there watching him, and listening, Richard felt 
his heart throb with the old friendship for this comrade of 
his childhood, his youth, and his young manhood, in school, 
in college, and, at last, tramping side by side on long marches, 
camping together, sleeping side by side through many 
a night when the morrow might bring for them death 
or wounds, victory or imprisonment, — sharing the same 
emotions even until the first great passion of their lives 
cut them asunder. 

Brought up without father or mother, this friendship 
had meant more to Richard than to most men. As he 
heard his cousin's plea he was only held from hurrying 
forward with extended arms by Larry's whispered words. 

"It's fine, son. Let him have his say out. Don't stop 
him. Watch how it works on the old man yonder," for 
Peter Junior was telling of his childhood among the people 
of Leauvite, speaking in a low, clear voice which carried to 
all parts of the room. 

"Your Honor, and Gentlemen of the Jury, Because I 
have no witness to attest to the truth of my claim, I am 
forced to make this plea, simply that you may believe me, 
that the accusation which my father through his lawyer 
brings against me could never be possible. You who 
knew my cousin, Richard Kildene, how honorable his life 
and his nature, know how impossible to him would be the 



BETTY BALLARD'S TESTIMONY 483 

crime of which I, in his name, am accused. I could not 
make this claim were I any other than I am — the son of 
the man who — does not recognize his son. 

"Gentlemen of the Jury, you all knew us as boys to- 
gether — how we loved each other and shared our pleasures 
like brothers — or more than brothers, for we quarreled 
less than brothers often do. During all the deep friendship 
of our lives, only once were we angry with each other — 
only once — and then — blinded by a great passion and 
swept beyond all knowledge of our acts, like men drunken 
we fought — we struggled against each other. Our friend- 
ship was turned to hatred. We tried — I think my cousin 
was trying to throw me over the brink of the bluff — at 
least he was near doing it. I do not make the plea of 
self-defense — for I was not acting in self-defense. I was 
lame, as you have heard, and not so strong as he. I could 
not stand against his greater strength, — but in my arms 
and hands I had power, — and I struck him with my cane. 
With all my force I struck him, and he — he — fell — 
wounded — and I — I — saw the blood gush from the 
wound I had made in his temple — with the stick I carried 
that day — in the place of my crutch. 

" Your Honor and Gentlemen of the Jury, it was my — 
intent to kill him. I — I — saw him lying at my feet — 
and thought I had done so." Here Peter Junior bowed 
his head and covered his face with his hands, and a breath- 
less silence reigned in the court room until he lifted his 
head and began again. " It is now three years and more — 
and during all the time that has passed — I have seen him 
lying so — white — dead — and red with his own blood — 
that I had shed. You asked me why I have at last returned, 



484 THE EYE OF DREAD 

and I reply, because I will no longer bear that sight. It 
is the curse of Cain that hangs over a murderer's soul, 
and follows wherever he goes. I tell you the form of my 
dead friend went with me always — sleeping, he lay beside 
me ; waking, he lay at my feet. When I looked into the 
shadows, he was there, and when I worked in the mine and 
swung my pick against the walls of rock, it seemed that 
I still struck at my friend. 

"Well may my father refuse to own me as his son — me 
— a murderer — but one thing can I yet do to expiate my 
deed, — I can free my cousin's name from all blame, and 
if I were to hang for my deed, gladly would I walk over coals 
to the gallows, rather than that such a crime should be laid 
at his door as that he tried to return here and creep into my 
place after throwing me over the bluff into those terrible 
waters. 

"Do with me what you will, Gentlemen of the Jury, but 
free his name. I understand that my cousin's body was 
never found lying there as I had left it when I fled in cow- 
ardice — when I tried to make all the world think me also 
dead, and left him lying there — when I pushed the great 
stone out of its place down where I had so nearly gone, and 
left my hat lying as it had fallen and threw the articles 
from my pocket over after the stone I had sent crashing 
down into the river. Since the testimony here given 
proves that I was mistaken in my belief that I had killed 
him, may God be thanked, I am free from the guilt of that 
deed. Until he returns or until he is found and is known to 
be living, do with me what you will. I came to you to 
surrender myself and make this confession before you, 
and as I stand here in your presence and before my 



BETTY BALLARD'S TESTIMONY 485 

Maker, I declare to you that what I have said is the 
truth." 

As he ceased speaking he looked steadily at the Elder's 
averted face, then sat down, regarding no one else. He felt 
he had failed, and he sat with head bowed in shame and 
sorrow. A low murmur rose and swept through the court 
room like a sound of wind before a storm, and the old Elder 
leaned toward his lawyer and spoke in low tones, lifting a 
shaking finger, then dropped his hand and shifted slightly 
in his chair. 

As he did so Milton Hibbard arose and began his cross- 
examination. 

The simplicity of Peter Junior's story, and the ingenuous 
manner in which it had been told, called for a different cross- 
examination from that which would have been adopted if 
this same counsel had been called upon to cross-examine 
the Swede. He made no effort to entangle the witness, 
but he led him instead to repeat that part of his testimony 
in which he had told of the motive which induced him to 
return and give himself up to justice. In doing so his 
questions, the tone of his voice, and his manner were 
marked with incredulity. It was as if he were saying to 
the jury: " Just listen to this impossible story while I take 
him over it again. Did you ever hear anything like it?" 
When he had gone in this direction as far as he thought dis- 
creet, he asked abruptly: "I understand that you admit 
that you intended to kill your cousin, and supposed you had 
killed him?" 

"Yes. I admit it." 

"And that you ran away to escape the consequences ?" 

"Yes." 



486 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



"Is it your observation that acknowledged murderers 
are usually possessed of the lofty motives and high sense of 
justice which you claim have actuated you ?" 

Without waiting for the witness to reply, the lawyer 
turned and looked at the jury and with a sneer, said: 
"That's all." 

"Your Honor, we have no other witness; the defense 
rests. I have proposed some requests for your charge to 
the jury which I will hand up." 

And the judge said : "Counsel may address the jury." 

During a slight pause which now ensued Larry Kildene 
tore a bit of blank paper from a letter and wrote upon it : 
"Richard Kildene is in this room and will come forward 
when called upon." This he folded and sent by a boy to 
Nathan Goodbody. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

RECONCILIATION 

Milton Hibbard arose and began his argument to the 
jury. It was a clear and forcible presentation of the case 
from his standpoint as counsel for the State. 

After recapitulating all the testimony that had been 
brought out during the course of the trial, he closed with 
an earnest appeal for the State against the defendant, 
showing conclusively that he believed the prisoner guilty. 
The changing expressions on the faces of the jury and 
among his audience showed that he was carrying them 
largely with him. Before he began speaking, Richard again 
started forward, but still Larry held him back. "Let 
be, son. Stand by and watch the old man yonder. Hear 
what they have to say against Peter Junior. I want to 
know what they have in their hearts." The strong dramatic 
appeal which the situation held for Larry was communi- 
cated through him to Richard also, and again he waited, 
and Milton Hibbard continued his oratory. 

"After all, the evidence against the prisoner still stands 
uncontradicted. You may see that to be able to sway you 
as he has, to be able to stand here and make his most 
touching and dramatic plea directly in the face of con- 
clusive evidence, to dare to speak thus, proves the man 
to be a most consummate actor. Your Honor and Gentle- 
men of the Jury, nothing has ever been said against the 

487 



488 THE EYE OF DREAD 

intellect or facile ability of the prisoner. The glimpses 
we have been shown of his boyhood, even, prove his skill 
in carrying a part and holding a power over his comrades, 
and here we have the talent developed in the man. 

"He is too wise to try to deny the statements made by 
the witnesses of the State, but from the moment Miss 
Ballard was allowed to see him alone in the jail, he has been 
able to carry the young lady with him. We do not bring 
any accusation against the young lady. No doubt she 
thinks him what he claims to be. No doubt he succeeded 
in persuading her he is her former fianc6, knowing well 
that he saw her and talked with her before he fled, be- 
lieving that her innocent acceptance of his story as the 
true explanation of his reappearance hfere and now will 
place him securely in the home of the man he claims is his 
father. That she saw Richard Kildene and knows him to 
be living is his reason for reappearing here and trying this 
most daring plea. 

"Is the true Peter Craigmile, Jr., dead? Then he can 
never arise to take the place this young man is now dar- 
ing to usurp. Can Richard Kildene be proved to be living ? 
Then is he, posing as Peter Craigmile, Jr., free from the 
charge of murder even if he makes confession thereto. He 
returns and makes this plea because he would live the life 
of a free man and not that of an outcast. He has himself 
told you why. 

"Now, as for the proofs that he is Richard Kildene, you 
have heard them — and know them to be unanswered. 
He has not the marks of Elder Craigmile's son. You have 
seen how the man he claims is his father refuses to even 
look upon him. Could a father be so deceived as not to 



RECONCILIATION 489 

know his own son? When Peter Craigmile, Jr., dis- 
appeared he was lame and feeble. This man returns, — 
strong and walking as well as one who never received a 
wound. Why, gentlemen, he stepped up here like a soldier 
— erect as a man who is sound in every limb. In that his 
subtlety has failed him. He forgot to act the part. But 
this forgetfulness only goes to further prove the point in 
hand. He was so sure of success that he forgot to act the 
part of the man he pretends to be. 

"He has forgotten to tell the court how he came by that 
scar above his temple, — yet he makes the statement that 
he himself inflicted such a wound on the head of Richard 
Kildene — the omission is remarkable in so clever an actor. 
Miss Ballard also admits having bound up that wound on 
the head of Richard Kildene, — but still she claims that 
this man is her former fianc6, Peter Craigmile, Jr. 
Gentlemen of the Jury, is it possible that you can retire 
from this court room and not consider carefully this point ? 
Is it not plainly to be seen that the prisoner thought to 
return and take the place of the man he has slain, and 
through the testimony of the young lady prove himself 
free from the thing of which he accuses himself in his con- 
fession, and so live hereafter the life of a free man without 
stain — and at last to marry the young girl he has loved, of 
whom he robbed his cousin, and for whom he killed him, 
and counting on the undeniable resemblance to that cousin, 
as proved in this court, to deceive not only the young lady 
herself — but also this whole community — thus making 
capital out of that resemblance to his own advantage 
and—" 

"Never ! Never !" cried a voice from the far corner of 



49© THE EYE OF DREAD 

the court room. Instantly there was a stir all over. The 
Elder jumped up and frowned toward the place from whence 
the interruption came, and Milton Hibbard lifted his voice 
and tried to drown the uproar that rose and filled the room, 
but not one word he uttered could be heard. 
I Order was called, and the stillness which ensued seemed 
ominous. Some one was elbowing his way forward, and as 
he passed through the crowd the uproar began again. 
Every one was on his feet, and although the prisoner stood 
and gazed toward the source of commotion he could not 
see the man who spoke. He looked across to the place 
where Betty Ballard had been sitting between her father 
and mother, and there he saw her standing on a chair, 
forgetful of the throng around her and of all the eyes that 
had been fixed upon her during her testimony in cold 
criticism, a wonderful, transfiguring light in her great gray 
eyes, and her arms stretched out toward some one in the 
surging crowd who was drawing nearer to the prisoner's 
box. Her lips were moving. She was repeating a name 
over and over. He knew the name she was repeating 
soundlessly, with quivering lips, and his heart gave a great 
bound and then stopped beating, and he fell upon his knees 
and bowed his head on his hands as they clung to the rail- 
ing in front of him. 

Amalia, watching them all, with throbbing pulses and 
luminous eyes, saw and understood, and her spirit was filled 
with a great thankfulness which she could not voice, but 
which lifted her, serene and still, above every one there. 
Now she looked only at Peter Junior. Then a tremor 
crept over her, and, turning, she clasped Lany's^arm with 
shaking hands. 



RECONCILIATION 491 

" Let me that I lean a little upon you or I fall down. How 
this is beautiful !" 

Larry put his arm about her and held her to him, support- 
ing her gently. "It's all coming right, you see." 

"Yes. But, how it is terrible for the old man ! It is as 
if the lightning had fallen on him." 

Larry glanced at his brother-in-law and then looked 
away. After all his desire to see him humbled, he felt a 
sense of shame in watching the old man's abject humility 
and remorse. Thereafter he kept his eyes fixed on his son, 
as he struggled with the throng packed closely around 
him and shouting now his name. Suddenly, when he could 
no longer progress, Richard felt himself lifted off his feet, 
and there, borne on the shoulders of the men, — as he had 
so shortly before been borne in triumph through the streets 
of Paris, — he was carried forward, this time by men who 
had tramped in the same column of infantry with him. 
Gladly now they held him aloft and shouted his name, and 
the people roared it back to them as they made way, and 
he was set down, as he directed, in the box beside the pris- 
oner. 

Had the Judge then tried to restore order it would have 
been futile. He did not try. He stood smiling, with his 
hand on the old Elder's shoulder. Then, while the people 
cheered and stamped and shouted the names of the two 
young men, and while women wept and turned to each 
other, clasping hands and laughing through tears, Milton 
Hibbard stooped and spoke in the Elder's ear. 

"I throw up the case, man, and rejoice witji you and the 
whole town. Go down there and take back your son." 

"The Lord has visited me heavily for the wicked pride 



492 THE EYE OF DREAD 

of my heart. I have no right to joy in my son's return. 
He should cast me off." The old man sat there, shriveled 
and weary — gazing straight before him, and seeing only 
his own foolish prejudice, like a Giant Despair, looming 
over him. But fortunately for him, no one saw him or 
noticed him but the two at his side, for all eyes were fixed 
on the young men, as they stood facing each other and 
gazed in each other's eyes. 

It was a moment of breathless suspense throughout the 
court room, as if the crowd by one impulse were waiting 
to hear the young man speak, and the Judge seized the 
opportunity to again call for order. 

When order had been secured, the prisoner's counsel rose 
and said : "If your Honor please, I ask leave to have the 
proofs opened, and to be permitted to call another witness." 

The Judge replied : "I have no doubt the District Attor- 
ney will consent to this request. You may call your wit- 
ness." 

"Richard Kildene!" rang out the triumphant voice of 
Nathan Goodbody, and Richard stepped into the witness 
box and was sworn. 

The natural eloquence with which he had been endowed 
was increased tenfold by his intense earnestness as he stood, 
turning now to the Judge and now to the jury, and told his 
story. The great audience, watching him and listening 
breathlessly, perceived the differences between the two men, 
a strong individuality in each causing such diversity of 
character that the words of Betty Ballard, which had so 
irritated the counsel, and which seemed so childish, now 
appealed to them as the truest wisdom — the wisdom of the 
" Child " who " shall lead them." 



RECONCILIATION 493 

"It is not the same head and it is not the same scar. It 
is not by their legs or their scars we know people, it is by 
themselves — by their souls." Betty was vindicated. 

Poignantly, intently, the audience felt as he wished them 
to feel the truth of his words, as he described the eternal 
vigilance of a man's own soul when he has a crime to expiate, 
and when he concluded by saying : "It is the Eye of Dread 
that sees into the hidden recesses of the heart, — to the 
uttermost end of life, — that follows the sinner even into 
his grave, until he yields to the demands of righteousness 
and accepts the terms of absolute truth," he carried 
them all with him, and again the tumult broke loose, and 
they shouted and laughed and wept and congratulated each 
other. The Judge himself sat stiffly in his seat, his chin 
quivering with an emotion he was making a desperate effort 
to conceal. Finally he turned and nodded to the sheriff, 
who rapped loudly for order. In a moment the room was 
silent, every one eager to hear what was to be the next step 
in the legal drama. 

"Gentlemen of the Jury," said the Judge, "Notwith- 
standing what has occurred, it becomes our duty to proceed 
to an orderly determination of this case. If you believe 
the testimony of the last witness, then, of course, the crime 
charged has not been committed, the respondent is not 
guilty, and he is entitled to your verdict. You may, if you 
choose, consult together where you are, and if you agree 
upon a verdict, the court will receive it. If you prefer to 
retire to consider your verdict, you may do so." 

The foreman of the jury then wrote the words, "Not 
guilty" on a piece of paper, and writing his name under it, 
passed it to the others. Each juror quickly signed his 



494 THE EYE OF DREAD 

name under that of the foreman, and when it was returned 
to him, he arose and said : "The jury finds the accused not 
guilty." 

Then for the first time every one looked at the Elder. 
He was seated bowed over his clasped hands, as if he were 
praying, as indeed he was, a fervent prayer for forgiveness. 

Very quietly the people left the court room, filled with 
a reverent awe by the sight of the old man's face. It was 
as if he had suddenly died to the world while still sitting 
there before them. But at the door they gathered and 
waited. Larry Kildene waited with them until he spied 
Mary Ballard and Bertrand, with Betty, leaving, when he 
followed them and gave Amalia into their charge. It was 
a swift and glad meeting between Larry and his old friends, 
and a hurried explanation. 

"I'm coming to tell you the whole, soon, but meantime 
IVe brought this lovely young lady for you to care for. 
Go with them, Amalia, and tell them all about yourself, 
for they will be father and mother and sister to you. IVe 
found my son — IVe a world to tell you, but now I must 
hurry back and comfort my brother-in-law a bit." He 
took Mary's hand in his and held it a moment, then Ber- 
trand's, and then he relieved the situation by taking Betty's 
and looking into her eyes, which looked tearfully back at 
him. Stooping, as if irresistibly drawn to her, he touched 
her fingers with his lips, and then lightly her hair. It was 
done with the grace of an old courtier, and he was gone, 
disappearing in the courthouse. 

For a good while the crowd waited around the doors, 
neighbor visiting with neighbor and recounting the events 
of the trial that had most impressed them, and telling one 



RECONCILIATION 495 

and another how they had all along felt that the young 
prisoner was no other than Peter Junior, and laying all the 
blame on the Elder's reckless offer of so large a reward. 
Nels Nelson crept sulkily back to the stable, and G. B. 
Stiles returned to the hotel and packed his great valise 
and was taken to the station in the omnibus by Nels Nelson. 
As they parted, G. B. Stiles asked for the paper he had 
given the Swede. 

" It's no good to you or any one now, you know. You're 
out nothing. I'm the only one that's out — all I've spent — " 

"Yas, bot I got heem. You not — all ofer de vorl. 
Dey vas bot' coom back, dot's all," and so they parted. 

Every one was glad and rejoiced over the return of the 
young men, with a sense of relief that resulted in hilarity, 
and no one would leave until he had had a chance to grasp 
the hands of the "boys." The men of the jury lingered 
with the rest, all eager to convince their friends that they 
would never have found the prisoner guilty of the charge 
against him, and at the same time chaffing each other 
about their discussions, and the way in which one and 
another had been caught by the evidence and Peter's 
changed appearance. 

At last the doors of the courthouse opened, and the Judge, 
and Milton Hibbard, Peter Junior, his father, and the law- 
yers, and Larry and Richard walked out in a group, when 
shouting and cheering began anew. Before descending 
the steps, the Elder, with bared head, stepped forward and 
stood regarding the people in silence, and the noise of shout- 
ing and cheering stopped as suddenly as it began. The 
devout old man stood erect, but his words came to them 
brokenly. 



4 q6 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"My friends and my neighbors, as you all know, I have 
this day been saved — from committing, in my blindness 
and my stubbornness, a great crime, — for which the Lord 
be thanked. Unworthy as I am, this day my son has been 
restored to me, fine and strong, for which the Lord be 
thanked. And here, the young man brought up as a 
brother to him, is again among you who have always loved 
him," — he turned and took Richard by the hand, and 
waited a moment; then, getting control of himself, once 
more continued — "for which again, I say, the Lord be 
thanked. 

"And now let me present to you one whom many of you 
know already, who has returned to us after many years — 
one whom in the past I have greatly wronged. Let me 
here and now make confession before you all, and present 
him to you as a man — " He turned and placed his hand 
on Larry's shoulder. "Let me present him to you as a man 
who can forgive an enemy — even so far as to allow that 
man who was his enemy to claim him forevermore as — as 
— brother — and friend, — Larry Kildene ! " Again cheers 
burst forth and again were held back as the Elder con- 
tinued. "Neighbors — he has sent us back my son. He has 
saved me — more than me — from ruin and disaster, in 
these days when ruin is abroad in the land. How he has 
done it you will soon learn, for I ask you all to come 
round to my house this night and — partake of — of — a 
little collation to be prepared by Mr. Decker and sent in 
for this occasion. " The old man's voice grew stronger as 
he proceeded, "Just to welcome home these boys of ours — 
our young men — and this man — generous and — " 

" YouVe not been the only one to blame. ,, Larry stepped 



RECONCILIATION 497 

forward and seized the Elder's hand, "I take my share of 
the sorrow — but it is past. We're friends — all of us — 
and we'll go all around to Elder Craigmile's house this 
night, and help him give thanks by partaking of his bounty 

— and now — will ye lift your voices and give a cheer for 
Elder Craigmile, a man who has stood in this community 
for all that is excellent, for uprightness and advancement, 
for honor and purity, a man respected, admired, and true 

— who has stood for the good of his fellows in this town of 
Leauvite for fifty years." Larry Kildene lifted his hand 
above his head and smiled a smile that would have drawn 
cheers from the very paving stones. 

And the cheers came, heartily and strongly, as the 
four men, rugged and strong, the gray-haired and the 
brown-haired, passed through the crowd and across the 
town square and up the main street, and on to the Elder's 
home. 

Ere an hour had passed all was quiet, and the small town 
of Leauvite had taken up the even tenor of its way. After 
a little time, Larry Kildene and Richard left the Elder and 
his son by themselves and strolled away from the town on 
the familiar road toward the river. They talked quietly 
and happily of things nearest their hearts, as they had need 
to do, until they came to a certain fork of the road, when 
Larry paused, standing a moment with his arm across his 
son's shoulder. 

"I'll go on a piece by myself, Richard. I'm thinking 
you'll be wanting to make a little visit." 

Richard's eyes danced. "Come with me, father, come. 
There'll be others there for you to talk with — who'll be 
glad to have you there, and — " 



498 



THE EYE OF DREAD 



" Go to, go to ! I know the ways of a man's heart as well 
as the next." 

" I'll warrant you do, father ! " and Richard bounded 
away, taking the path he had so often trod in his boyhood. 
Larry stood and looked after him a moment. He was 
pleased to hear how readily the word, father, fell from the 
young man's lips. Yes, Richard was facile and ready. He 
was his own son. 



CHAPTER XL 

THE SAME BOY 

Mary Ballard stepped down from the open porch where 
Amalia and the rest of the family sat behind a screen of 
vines, interestedly talking, and walked along the path 
between the rose bushes that led to the gate. She knew 
Richard must be coming when she saw Betty, who sat 
where she could glance now and then down the road, drop 
her sewing and hurry away through the house and off to- 
ward the spring. As Larry knew the heart of a man, so 
Mary Ballard knew the heart of a girl. She said nothing, 
but quietly strolled along and waited with her hand on the 
gate. 

"I wanted to be the first to open the gate to you, 
Richard," she said, as he approached her with extended 
arms. Silently he drew her to him and kissed her. She 
held him off a moment and gazed into his eyes. 

"Yes, I'm the same boy. I think that was what you 
said to me when I entered the army — that I should come 
back to you the same boy ? I've always had it in mind. 
I'm the same boy." 

"I believe you, Richard. They are all out on the front 
porch, and Bertrand is with them — if you wish to see him 
— first — and if you wish to see Betty, take the path at 
the side, around the house to the spring below the garden." 

499 



500 THE EYE OF DREAD 

Betty stood with her back to the house under the great 
Bartlett pear tree. She was trembling. She would not 
look around — Oh, no ! She would wait until he asked for 
her. He might not ask for her ! If he did not, she would 
not go in — not yet. But she did look around, for she felt 
him near her — she was sure — sure — he was near — 
close — 

"Oh, Richard, Richard! Oh, Richard, did you know 
that I have been calling you in my heart — so hard, calling 
you, calling you?" 

She was in his arms and his lips were on hers. "The 
same little Betty ! The same dear little Betty ! Lovelier 

— sweeter — you wore a white dress with little green sprigs 
on it — is this the dress ? " 

"Yes, no. I couldn't wear the same old one all this 
time." She spoke between laughing and crying. 

"Why is this just like it?" 

"Because." 

He held her away and gazed at her a moment. "What 
a lovely reason ! What a lovely Betty ! " He drew her to 
him again. "I heard it all — there in the court room. I 
was there and heard. What a load you have borne for me 

— my little Betty — all this time — what a load ! " 

"It was horrible, Richard." She hid her flaming face 
on his breast. "There, before the whole town — to tell 
every one — everything. I — I — don't even know what 
I said." 

" I do. Every word — dear little Betty ! While I have 
been hiding like a great coward, you have been bravely 
bearing my terrible burden, bearing it for me." 

" Oh, Richard ! For weeks and weeks my heart has been 



THE SAME BOY 501 

calling you, calling you — night and day, calling you 
to come home. I told them he was Peter Junior, but 
they would not believe me — no one would believe 
me but mother. Father tried to, but only mother 
really did." 

"I heard you, Betty. I had a dingy little studio up 
three flights of stairs in Paris, and I sat there painting one 
day — and I heard you. I had sent a picture to the Salon, 
and was waiting in suspense to know the result, and I heard 
your call — " 

"Was — was — that what made you come home — or 

— or was it because you knew you ought to ?" She lifted 
her head and looked straight into his eyes. 

Richard laughed. "It's the same little Betty ! The 
same Betty with the same conscience bigger than her head 

— almost bigger than her heart. I can't tell you what it 
was. I heard it again and again, and the last time I just 
packed my things and wound up matters there — I had 
made a success, Betty, dear — let me say that. It makes 
me feel just a little bit more worth your while. I thought to 
make a success would be sweet, but it was all worthless — 
I'll tell you all about it later — but it was no help and I 
just followed the call and returned, hurrying as if I knew 
all about the thing that was going on, when really I knew 
nothing. Sometimes I thought it was you calling me, and 
sometimes I thought it was my own conscience, and some- 
times I thought it was only that I could no longer bear my 
own thoughts — See here, Betty, darling — don't — don't 
ever kill any one, for the thought that you have committed 
a murder is an awful thing to carry about with you." 

She laughed and hid her face again on his breast. 



502 THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Richard, how can we laugh — when it has all been so 
horrible?" 

"We can't, Betty — we're crying." She looked up at 
him again, and surely his eyes were filled with tears. She 
put up her hand and lightly touched his lips with her fingers. 

"I know. I know you've suffered, Richard. I see the 
lines of sorrow here about your mouth — even when you 
smile. I saw the same in Peter Junior's face, and it was 
so sad — I just hugged him, I was so glad it was he — I — 
I — hugged him and kissed him — " 

"Bless his heart ! Somebody ought to." 

"Somebody will. She's beautiful — and so — fascinat- 
ing ! Let's go in so you can meet her." 

"I have met her, and father has told me a great deal about 
her. I've had a fine talk with my father. How wonderful 
that Peter should have been the means of finding my father 
for me — and such a splendid father ! I often used to 
think out what kind of a father I would like if I could choose 
one, but I never thought out just such a combination of 
delightful qualities as I find in him." 

"It's like a story, isn't it? And we'll all live happily 
ever after. Shall we go in and see the rest, Richard? 
They'll be wanting to see you too." 

"Let's go over here and sit down. I don't want to see 
the rest quite yet, little one. Why, Betty, do you suppose 
I can let go of you yet ? " 

"No," said Betty, meekly, and again Richard laughed. 
She lifted the hair from his temple and touched the old 
scar. 

"Yes, it's there, Betty. I'm glad he hit me that welt. 
I would have pushed him over but for that. I deserved it." 



THE SAME BOY 503 

"You're not so like him — not so like as you used to be. 
No one would mistake you now. You don't look so much 
like yourself as you used to — and you've a lot of white in 
your hair. Oh, Richard !" 

"Yes. It's been pretty tough, Betty, dear, — pretty 
tough. Let's talk of something else." 

"And all the time I couldn't help you — even the least bit." 

"But you were a help all the time — all the time." 

"How, Richard?" 

"I had a clean, sweet, perfect, innocent place always in 
my heart where you were that kept me from caring for a 
lot of foolishness that tempted other men. It was a good, 
sweet, wholesome place where you sat always. When I 
wanted to see you sitting there, I had only to take a funny 
little leather housewife, all worn, and tied with cherry- 
colored hair ribbons, in my hand and look at it and 
remember." 

Betty sighed a long sigh of contentment and settled her- 
self closer in his arms. "Yes, I was there, and God heard 
me praying for you. Sometimes I felt myself there." 

"In the secret chamber of my heart, Betty, dear?" 

"Yes." They were silent for a while, one of the blessed 
silences which make life worth living. Then Betty lifted 
her head. "Tell me about Paris, Richard, and what you 
did there. It was Peter who was wild to go and paint in 
Paris and it was you who went. That was why no one 
found you. They never thought that of you — but I 
would have thought it. I knew you had it in you." 

"Oh, yes, after a fashion I had it in me." 

"But you said you met with success. Did that mean 
you were admitted to the Salon ?" 



5<h THE EYE OF DREAD 

"Yes, dear." 

"Oh, Richard! How tremendous! Fve read a lot 
about it. Oh, Richard ! Did you like the ' Old Masters ' ? " 

"Did I! Betty, I learned a thing about your father, 
looking at the work of some of those great old fellows. I 
learned that he is a better painter and a greater man than 
people over here know." 

"Mother knew it — all the time." 

"Ah, yes, your mother ! Would you like to go there, 
Betty ? Then I'll take you. We'll be married right away, 
won't we, dear?" 

"You know, Richard, I believe I would be perfectly — 
absolutely — terribly happy — if — if I could only get 
over being mad at your uncle. He was so stubborn, he 
was just wicked. I hated him — I — I hated him so, and 
now it seems as if I had got used to hating him and couldn't 
stop." 

She had been so brave and had not once given way, but 
now at the thought of all the bitterness and the fight of her 
will against that of the old man, she sobbed in his arms. 
Her whole frame shook and he gathered her close and com- 
forted her. "He — he — he was always saying — say- 
ing—" 

"Never mind now what he was saying, dear. Listen." 

"I — I — I — am afraid — I can never see him — or — 
or look at him again — I — I — hate him so ! " 

"No, no. Don't hate him. Any one would have done 
the same in his place who believed as firmly as he did what 
he believed." 

"B — b — but he didn't need to believe it." 

"You see he had known through that Dane man — or 



\ 



THE SAME BOY 505 

whatever he is — from the detective — all I told you that 
night — how could he help it ? I believed Peter was dead 
— we all did — you did. He had brooded over it and 
slept upon it — no wonder he refused even to look at Peter. 
If you had seen Uncle Elder there in the court room after 
the people had gone, if you had seen him then, Betty, you 
would never hate him again." 

"All the same, if — if — you hadn't come home when 
you did, — and the law of Wisconsin allowed of hanging — 
he would have had him, Peter Junior — he would have had 
his own son hanged, — and been glad — glad — because 
he would have thought he was hanging you. I do hate — " 

"No, no. And as he very tersely said — if all had been 
as it seemed, and it had been me — trying to take the place 
of Peter Junior — I would have deserved hanging — now 
wouldn't I, after all the years when Uncle Elder had been 
good to me for his sister's sake ?" 

"That's it — for his sister's sake — n — n — not for 
yours, always himself and his came first. And then it 
wouldn't have been so. Even if it were so, it wouldn't 
have been so — I mean — I wouldn't have believed it — 
because it couldn't have been you and been so — " 

"Darling little Irish Betty ! What a fine daughter you 
will be to my Irish Dad ! Oh, my dear ! my dear ! " 

"But you know such a thing would have been impossible 
for you to do. They might have known it, too, if they'd 
had any sense. And that scar on Peter's head — that was 
a new one and yours is an old one. If they had had any 
sense, they could have seen that, too." 

"Never any man on earth had a sweeter job than I! 
It's worth all I've been through to come home here and 



5o6 THE EYE OF DREAD 

comfort you. Let's keep it up all our lives, see? You 
always stay mad at Uncle Elder, and I'll always comfort 
you — just like this." 

Then Betty laughed through her tears, and they kissed 
again, and then proceeded to settle all their future to 
Richard's heart's content. Then, after a long while, they 
crept in where the family were all seated at supper, and 
instantly everything in the way of decorum at meals was 
demoralized. Every one jumped up, and Betty and Richard 
were surrounded and tumbled about and hugged and kissed 
by all — until a shrill, childish voice raised a shout of 
laughter as little Janey said : " What are we all kissing Betty 
for ? She hasn't been away ; she's been here all the time." 

It was Peter Junior who broke up the rout. He came in 
upon them, saying he had left his father asleep, exhausted 
after the day's emotion, and that he had come home to the 
Ballards to get a little supper. Then it was all to be done 
over again, and Peter was jumbled up among outstretched 
arms, and shaken and pounded and hugged, and happy he 
was to be taken once more thus vociferously into the home 
that had always meant so much to him. There they all 
were, — Martha and Julien — James and Bob, as the boys 
were called these days, — and little Janey — and Bertrand 
as joyous as a boy, and Mary — she who had always 
known — even as Betty said, smiling on him in the old 
way — and there, watching all with glowing eyes, Amalia 
at one side, waiting, until Peter had her, too, in his arms. 

Quickly Martha set a place for Peter between Amalia 
and herself. Yes, it was all as it should be — the circle 
now complete — only — "Where is your father, Richard ?" 
asked Mary. 



THE SAME BOY 507 

"He went off for a walk. Isn't he a glorious father for 
a man to fall heir to ? We're all to meet at Uncle Elder's 
to-night, and he'll be there." 

"Will he? I'm so glad." 

"Yes, Mrs. Ballard." Richard looked gravely into her 
eyes and from her to Bertrand. " You left after the verdict. 
You weren't at the courthouse at the last. It's all come 
right, and it's going to stay so." 

The meal progressed and ended amid laughter ; and a 
little later the family all set out for the banker's home. 

"How I wish Hester were here!" said Mary. "I did 
not wish her here before — but now we want her." She 
looked at Peter. 

"Yes, now we want her. We're ready for her at last. 
Father leaves for New York to-morrow to fetch her. She's 
coming on the next steamship, and he'll meet her and bring 
her back to us all." 

"How that is beautiful!" murmured Amalia, as she 
walked at Peter's side. He looked down at her and noted 
a weariness in her manner she strove to conceal. 

" Come back with me a little — just a little while. I can 
go later to my father's, and he will excuse you, and I'll 
take you to him before he leaves to-morrow. Come, I 
think I know where we may find Larry Kildene." So Peter 
led her away into the dusk, and they walked slowly — 
slowly — along the road leading to the river bluff — but 
not to the top. 

After a long hour Larry came down from the height where 
he had been communing with himself and found them in 
the sweet starlight seated by the wayside, and passed them, 
although he knew they were Peter and Amalia. He 



508 THE EYE OF DREAD 

walked lingeringly, feeling himself very much alone, until 
he was seized by either arm and held. 
"It is your blessing, Sir Kildene, we ask it." 
And Larry gave them the blessing they asked, and took 
Amalia in his arms and kissed her. "I thought from the 
first that you might be my son, Peter, and it means no 
diminution in my love for you that I find you are not. 
It's been a great day — a great day — a great day," he 
said as if to himself, and they walked on together. 

"Yes, yes ! Sir Kildene, I am never to know again fear. 
I am to have the new name, so strong and fine. Well can 
I say it. Hear me. Peter-Craigmile- Junior. A strange, 
fine name — it is to be mine — given to me. How all is 
beautiful here ! It is the joy of heaven in my heart — like 

— like heaven, is not, Peter ?" 
"Now you are here — yes, Amalia." 

"So have I say to you before — to love is all of heaven 

— and all of life, is not ?" 

Peter held in his hand the little crucifix he had worn on 
his bosom since their parting. In the darkness he felt 
rather than saw it. He placed it in her hand and drew her 
close as they walked. "Yes, Amalia, yes. You have 
taught me. Hatred destroys like a blast, but love — love 
is life itself." 

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